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  1. ITV Report

Hearts melt as conjoined twins, 2, reunite for first time since surgery

  • Video courtesy of Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford

Conjoined twins in California have been reunited for the first time after being separated in a 17-hour operation.

Eva and Erika Sandoval had been recovering in separate beds since they underwent surgery on December 6.

The two-year-old twins, who slept in the same room, had shared a bladder, liver, parts of their digestive system and a third leg before the operation.

Doctors said both girls will probably need a prosthetic leg, but are expected to make a full recovery.

Each girl retains portions of the organs they shared, and each still has one leg. Credit: Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford
The twins were separated on December 6. Credit: Reuters

Although the girls were sleeping in the same room, they could not see each other - so their parents, aided by the intensive care team at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford - carefully carried Erika to be by her sister's side for the first time.

The twins' mother, Aida Sandoval, said: "It was such a thrill for us to see the girls next to one another again."

The girls are expected to continue their recovery in the hospital for another week, before being transferred out of intensive care to an acute care unit.

The girls are awake and are breathing without ventilators. Credit: Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford
The conjoined twins were separated on December 6. Credit: Reuters

Only a few hundred operations have been performed successfully to separate conjoined twins, and doctors had calculated a 30% chance that one or both twins would not make it through the operation.

According to the University of Maryland Medical Centre, it is estimated as few as one in 200,000 births result in conjoined twins - 50% of whom are stillborn and 35% only survive one day.