PARENTS

The Look Of Love: Conjoined Twins Joshua And Jacob Spates Face To Face For First Time

19/09/2011 16:41 | Updated 22 May 2015
Conjoined twins Joshua and Jacob Spates see each other for  first time after separation surgeryLe Bonheur Children's Hospital

This is the incredible moment twins Joshua and Jacob Spates come face to face for the first time. They were conjoined for the first six months of their lives, facing opposite directions.

The boys were delivered by emergency caesarean in January, six weeks before they were due.

They were conjoined at the base of their spines and gastrointestinal tract and had to be separated because of the severity of Jacob's heart condition.

Conjoined twins Joshua and Jacob Spates see each other for the first time after being separated by life-saving surgeryABC news

The boys survived 13 hours of surgery on August 29 to separate them. The success of the operation has been hailed as a medical miracle. The gorgeous boys now have the chance to lead full and independent lives.

Conjoined twins

Now eight months old, Jacob and Joshua, from Memphis, Tennessee, were operated on at Le Bonheur Children's Hospital in Memphis, the same hospital in which they were born.

The boys' delighted mother, Adrienne Spates, said the babies are doing well since their operation, on August 29.

Conjoined twins Joshua and Jacob Spates see each other for the first time after being separated by life-saving surgeryABC news

Jacob remains in intensive care and needs a few more operations, while Joshua is already out of the unit and is being prepared to go home.

Dr Max Langham, one of the surgeons at Le Bonheur Children's Hospital in Memphis, said: 'Joshua's doing great, and hopefully he'll be up and going and have a pretty normal lifespan.

Conjoined twins Joshua and Jacob Spates see each other for the first time after being separated by life-saving surgeryABC news

He said that while Jacob has more serious heart problems, 'our cardiology team has very high hopes his treatment... will be successful'.

'If they had not been separated, sometime in the next year or two, they probably would have passed,' Dr Langham said.

Conjoined twins Joshua and Jacob Spates see each other for the first time after being separated by life-saving surgeryABC news

* Just two dozen conjoined twins have ever been successfully separated worldwide.

* The condition is extremely rare, only about one in every 200,000 live births is a set of conjoined twins and about 15 per cent of these are joined in a similar way to Joshua and Jacob.

* Fewer than a third of conjoined twins survive more than one day.

* Before the operation doctors practiced how to separate the twins successfully, including the anaesthesia team sewing together two Cabbage Patch dolls to practise flipping them without tangling the various lines that would be attached during surgery.

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