Baby CONJOINED Twins Successfully Separated After Long Surgery
A pair of twins named Ballenie and Bellanie … sound complicated enough? Well, of course, they were born as conjoined twins, dovetailed together at their lower back. (Couldn’t you guess? No?) What became of them? Read on to hear their story.
Conjoined twins were formerly nicknamed “Siamese twins” in English, before the general population began to worry about political correctness. (The term “Siamese twins” became synonymous with “conjoined twins” due to Chang and Eng Bunker of the 19th century, the most famous pair of conjoined twins in history, whose livers were fused and surrounded by skin and cartilage. They could easily have been surgically separated today. See also: Millie and Christine McKoy.) The chance of twins being born conjoined is quite rare: the odds are only one in 200,000 births. Conjoined twins occur when a fertilized egg splits only partially into identical twins. The likelihood of the twins’ survival is also rare: half of all pairs of twins that are conjoined will be stillborn. If the twins manage to survive birth, the odds of surviving their first 24 hours are one in three. The likelihood of living into adulthood ranges from only 5% to 25%. It is more likely for male conjoined twins to be stillborn than for female twins, at a ratio of 1:3, luckily for the little girls Ballenie and Bellanie Camacho.
Since conjoined twins are likely to survive longest if their are surgically separated, it was decided by doctors in New York City that Ballenie and Bellanie should be separated. Born in the Dominican Republic, the little girls were eleven months old when this time came. Besides the obvious, the biggest reason for the surgery was that one of the girls, the smaller twin, Ballenie, had a congenital heart defect. Her condition could potentially threaten her life, especially if she remained attached to her twin sister.
Of course, the conjoined factor was a difficult factor: the girls’ spinal cords merged at the lower back, where they were joined. The New York City surgeon team decided that the surgery was worth trying … but that the surgery would take a very long time. Indeed, it would take 22 hours in total.
The ending is a happy one! The successful surgery left each girl her own lady. The twins’ mom, Laurilin, is quoted as saying: “I want to see my daughters healthy and independent. I want them to go to school, for them to play freely. Even if it’s in a wheelchair, anything, but with their freedom and independence.” Their dad, Marino, added that the first thing they would do once the girls were healed is go to the beach as a family.