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October 13th, 2003

Conjoined Twins

After hearing of the successful separation of twins conjoined at the head, I got to wondering what the survival odds are for separation operations and how it varies depending on what body part is attached.

To start, 40-60% of conjoined twins are stillborn. 35% survive less than a day. According to this random web site, the overall chance of survival after an attempt at separation is around 46%, but that varies depending on where the twins are joined. The Iranian twins that were connected at the head died, but were initially given a 50% chance of survival. Last year, doctors decided not to operate on a pair of twins twins with a conjoined heart because it would be “virtually impossible.” The twins died a few weeks later.

Beyond that, I really couldn’t find any hard numbers about chances of survival, other than that the chance greater if you wait until at least a few weeks after birth.

Posted in In the News

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