15/12/2011 12:07 GMT | Updated 15/12/2011 12:20 GMT

Conjoined Twins Maria Paz And Maria Jose Separated After 20-Hour Surgery In Chile

Chilean doctors successfully separated conjoined twin girls on Wednesday after a marathon 20-hour surgery.

Around 100 medical staff were involved in the procedure, separating the babies at the thorax, abdomen and pelvis.

Maria Paz and Maria Jose, who are 10-months-old, lost a good deal of blood but are recovering in the intensive care unit at Luis Calvo Mackenna Hospital in Santiago, the chief surgeon Francisco Ossandon said.

The twins' parents, Jessica Navarrete and Roberto Paredes, spent an anxious day at the hospital while doctors completed their seventh and most complex conjoined operation yet. Navarrete said she was waiting for "a miracle from God" when the high-risk operation began.

Chief of the intensive care unit, Dr Carlos Acuna, said: "The next 48 hours will be the most critical in terms of the risk they face of dying."

Over the next few days, the girls will remain sedated and on respirators as staff watch for infections or other complications.