Conjoined Twins

Conjoined twins is an extremely rare type of multiple birth in which two babies are born joined together, either at the chest, abdomen or pelvis. The babies share some organs, such as the liver or intestines, and can be joined together in many different ways. The babies can be joined facing each other or back to back, and the area of connection can vary in size and shape.

Conjoined twins are believed to form when an embryo only partially divides during the early stages of development. This type of twinning occurs in 1 in every 200,000 live births, and is more common in female babies and in certain racial and ethnic groups.

Conjoined twins can either be joined at the chest (thoracopagus), abdomen (omphalopagus), or pelvis (pyopagus). Thoracopagus twins are joined at the chest, often sharing a liver, heart, or other organs. Omphalopagus twins are joined at the lower abdomen and may share a liver, intestine or other organs. Pyopagus twins are joined at the pelvis and rarely share any organs.

The prognosis for conjoined twins varies depending on the type of connection and the organs shared. In some cases, doctors may be able to successfully separate the twins, while in other cases, it may not be possible to safely separate them. In most cases, conjoined twins are not expected to live long-term.

When conjoined twins are born, their parents must decide whether to attempt to separate them or keep them together. This can be a difficult decision, as it carries risks for both outcomes. Even if the twins are successfully separated, there can be long-term medical complications and a long recovery period. If the twins are kept together, they will have to learn to adapt to life as conjoined twins, which can also have its challenges.

In some cases, conjoined twins may be able to lead relatively normal lives if they are kept together. However, the long-term outlook for conjoined twins is still uncertain, and parents must weigh all of their options carefully before making a decision.