Conjoined Twins Have Two Heads, Share One Body
Conjoined twins recently born in Brazil have two heads, two functioning brains and two backbones, but only one heart, which means surgery is impossible. According to the BBC, Jesus and Emanuel only have one set of organs and will likely share a body for the rest of their lives.
“What we know statistically is that children who undergo surgery and survive are the children who have less organs in common,” said Dr. Neila Dahas, who is treating the twins. “What we’ve got to think about at this moment is to maintain the children in good condition and see who they will develop.”
Jesus and Emanuel were born by Caesarean section in a northern area of the country, and weighed 9.9 pounds. After their birth, they were transported by plane to a more equipped hospital where their mother breastfed them both. Their appetite appeared to be normal.
According to multiple reports from news sources, the boys’ mother had no ultrasounds done during her pregnancy and did not find out about her sons’ condition until minutes before they were born.
The condition, known as dicephalic parapagus, is rare and thought to occur when one of the twins fails to properly develop in the womb, the news agency said. It occurs in one in 100,000 pregnancies, though most do not reach full-term.
There have been a few notable cases of conjoined twins sharing organs, however. The BBC reported that American twins Abigail and Brittany Hensel—who were born in 1990—continue to live healthy lives, and even took their driving test together when they turned 16.