Twins conjoined at the head were separated after a rare 12-hour surgery, meaning they can see each other for the first time

Two babies with the heads bandaged up are facing each other in a hospital cot.
Israeli twins look at one another after having undergone a rare separation surgery at Soroka Medical Centre in Beersheva, Israel. Soroka Medical Centre/Handout/REUTERS
  • A pair of one-year-old twins who were joined at the head have been separated.
  • The operation, which took place in Israel last Thursday, over took 12 hours.
  • The surgery was one of 20 ever done in the world, a hospital surgeon said.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A pair of one-year-old Israeli twins girls, who were born conjoined at the head, have been separated after a rare operation that lasted more than 12 hours.

The surgery took place in the Soroka Medical Center, Beersheva, Israel on Thursday, The Jerusalem Post reported on Sunday.

Footage of the twins before the surgery can be seen at the 15-second mark here:

Only 20 such operations have been done around the world so far, the hospital’s chief pediatric surgeon Dr. Mickey Gideon said, per Israel’s Mako news portal.

The separation means the girls, who have not been publicly named, are now able to see each other for the first time.

The girls were born in August 2020 and were attached by the back of their heads, a rare condition called craniopagus twins, per The Jerusalem Post.

A team of about 50 staff, including surgeons from the UK and US, had been training for the surgery for about a year, Israel’s Channel 12 reported.

Using imaging techniques including MRT and CT scans, and angiography, the team drew up an intricate 3D virtual reality model of the girls’ brain structures, skull bones, skin, and shared blood vessels, per Mako.

In the months leading up to the surgery, silicone bags inserted into the twins’ heads were periodically inflated to stretch their skin, which was then used to close up their heads, the BBC reported.

After the surgery, the twin’s father told Channel 12 he was excited to be able to lift the girls individually for the first time.

The girls are also recovering well, said Eldad Silberstein, the head of the plastic surgery department at Soroka Medical Center, Reuters reported.