After 12 hours of surgery to separate four-year-old conjoined twin girls, surgeons in the US have separated their intestines and pelvis and are working to separate their liver.
The operation in Salt Lake City was billed as the first to try to separate twins who share a kidney. Kendra and Maliyah Herrin are joined at mid-torso and also share a pair of legs.
AdvertisementIf the surgery at Primary Children's Hospital is successful, the twins will each have one leg with Kendra getting the kidney and Maliyah getting a kidney transplant from her mother after she recovers from this week's surgery.
Surgeons also plan to bisect the girls' liver and reconstruct their pelvis.
The family was receiving hourly updates from the surgical team and reported progress on their website, www.herrintwins.com. They said the first incision was made at 10.27 a.m. (0427 GMT) Monday. Ahead of the operation, surgeons said the procedure could last from 12 to 24 hours.
The family reported "no road bumps so far" and expressed optimism and surprise that Kendra had to have the first blood transfusion of the operation 11 hours into the procedure.
"The circulating nurse tells us the doctors seem to be progressing faster than she expected," the family said 10 hours into the surgery.
Despite the risks of the complicated surgery, the family said they had decided to go ahead because the girls saw themselves as living separate lives as adults.
"We are shedding many tears today," said one of their website postings. "Not so much because we are scared or nervous, but because we are mourning their last day conjoined."