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Conjoined Twins Successfully Separated After Marathon Surgery

Allen S. Kramer/Texas Children's Hospital

The Short of It

Conjoined twins in Texas were successfully separated by a team of doctors after a marathon 26-hour surgery.

The Lowdown

Elysse Mata's twin daughters, Knatalye Hope and Adeline Faith, lived for 10 months joined at the chest and abdomen. Then, incredibly, on Feb. 17, after a long period of preparation, a team of more than 50 doctors at Texas Children's Hospital successfully separated the two girls.

"This surgery was not without its challenges, with the girls sharing several organ systems. Our team has been preparing for this surgery for months, and we've done everything from working with our radiology experts to build a 3D model of their organs, to conducting simulations of the actual separation surgery," Dr. Darrell Cass, pediatric surgeon and co-director of Texas Children's Fetal Center told CBS News.

The twins will remain hospitalized for the foreseeable future and will likely need more surgeries. But their mom is very grateful that her daughters, who she learned were conjoined when she was 19-weeks pregnant, have this amazing chance to live separately.

"We know how much planning and time went into this surgery, and we are so blessed to be at a place like Texas Children's where we have access to the surgeons and caretakers that have made this dream a reality," Mata said.

The Upshot

"These girls are now going to have that potential of having an independent life," Dr. Cass told Today.com.

This is an especially wonderful prognosis, given that initially, the Matas were told their twins had just a 20 percent chance of survival. Here's wishing little (and brave!) Knatalye and Adeline recover soon and go on to lead healthy, happy lives—but retain the closeness they most certainly shared while conjoined.

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