Chilean Doctors Separate Conjoined Twins

Chilean doctors have successfully separated conjoined twins.

The surgery lasted for 20 hours, according to AP. The surgery, which ended late Tuesday night, separated 10-month-old Maria Paz and Maria Jose at the thorax, stomach, and pelvis.

It was the seventh and most complex operation yet for the twins. Earlier in the year, doctors separated the twins' legs, urinary tracts, pulmonary systems and other body parts.

The surgery went well despite the twins losing a lot of blood.

"Both were successfully separated," chief surgeon Francisco Ossandon said at a news conference. "We had a number of difficulties during the surgery. There were some surprises, but we were able to fix, solve the problems."

Ossandon, however, didn't rule out future complications stemming from the effects of anesthesia and possible infections.

"We're very happy because we think they've had the best evolution we could have hoped for," he said.

Parents Jessica Navarrete and Roberto Paredes held a vigil during the operation at Luis Calvo Mackenna Hospital in Santiago.

Some Chilean television stations interrupted their regular programming to air updates from the surgeons, during and after the operation.

These twins presented such a challenge because they were not only born sharing important internal organs, but also a urinary system. About 100 professionals participated in the procedure, including 25 surgeons and anesthesiologists.

Luis Calvo Mackenna Hospital has a history with separating conjoined twins. The staff has successfully separated three sets of twins before, but a fourth set, died during surgery due to cardiac difficulties.

The girls were connected to a respirator Wednesday and will remain under sedation for at least 72 hours. The twins will also return to the operating room every two or three days so doctors may clean their wounds.