The formerly conjoined twins who had lived their entire lives connected to each other's head prior to a surgery that separated them have finally seen each other for the first time after their operation at the Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx last month.

Conjoined At The Head

Brothers Jadon and Anias McDonald shared brain tissue and had entwined blood vessels, a condition that occurs in only one in 2.5 million live births. The boys underwent surgery so they can be separated and live normal lives.

The boys' road to "normal" life, however, has not been free of problems. The twins have fought infections and suffered fevers and seizure. The boys received skin grafts following infections in their scalps.

Anias, in particular, fared worse. He suffered from more frequent fevers and had bacterial infections in his head that prompted surgeons to remove bone grafts that will require reconstruction as he gets older.

"Serious infections close to the brain, skin involvement," Nicole McDonald, the twins' mother said. "They had to take the bone out of Anias. They had to take skin out. It's just been - for Anias, there's never a break."

Fast Recovery

The success of the surgery, however, which was livestreamed across the world, was considered a miracle given the difficulty and length of the operation. Not all who had undergone similar operations survived. The recuperation of the twins also appears to go faster than expected.

Six weeks after the procedure, the twins are recovering and are set to be moved to a rehabilitation facility after Thanksgiving. The boys are on a pace for the fastest recovery for craniopagus surgery. The fastest time to recover from a similar surgical operation before the McDonald twins was eight weeks.

"Historically, this will be the fastest (recovery)," said James Goodrich, the lead surgeon of the medical team who conducted the 27-hour operation. "I'm the least complaining person in this room. When they're ahead of schedule, it makes everyone happy."

Craniopagus surgeries are rare and many of the twins who were successfully separated had to face months of hospitalization before they are considered for rehabilitation.


Despite the challenges, Nicole McDonald said that her sons' recovery made her feel blessed. Her children can now sleep in separate beds.

Having successfully been separated, the boys will soon learn how to crawl, walk and lift their now separate heads, movements that would not have been possible had their heads remained fused together.

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