After much interest and concern from the general public, on Feb 16, the conjoined twins, Liu Tianyu and Liu Yuxuan were successfully separated at Beijing Military General Hospital (北京军区总医院). Those two boys will now be able to live a normal, healthy life.
On November 5, 2007, the mother Wang Tianying from Tianjin gave birth to triplets. One is a very healthy girl, but the other two boys who were joined at the back.
Conjoined twins are very much a rarity. Their bodies are joined in utero, with the head, side of the body or spine usually the place where they are joined. It is estimated that conjoined twins make up one in every 10,000-50,000 births in China, but from those only one in 200,000 will survive past birth. About 70-75% of conjoined twins are female. Two contradicting theories exist to explain the origins of conjoined twins. The older and most generally accepted theory is fission, in which the fertilized egg splits partially. This situation may happen in the first two weeks of pregnancy. The second theory is fusion, in which a fertilized egg completely separates, but stem cells (which search for similar cells) find like-stem cells on the other twin and fuse the twins together.
Liu Tianyu and Liu Yuxuan were diagnosed as being connected at the waist, and they were the first recorded case in China. Fortunately, their spines and urinary organs were comparatively independent. The doctor said if they shared on spine, one of them would be paralyzed. Before the real operation, the doctors in Beijing Military General Hospital had already performed a test operation on a model of the conjoined twins designed by a computer. The complicated operation took more than 4 hours, and was performed by orthopedic and neurosurgeons working together.
Even thought the operation was a complete success, the boys will still require careful medical treatment, and their progress will be monitored for some time to come by the officials in the hospital.
News Source: Xin Jing Bao (新京报) http://email@example.com
China Military Web (中国军网)