Conjoined twin sisters who were born locked in an embrace have successfully been separated during a marathon surgery involving more than two dozen specialists.
Born with their arms wrapped around each other in June 2019, Sarabeth and Amelia Irwin spent the first 13 months of their lives attached from their chests to their bellies.
The surgery took doctors a painstaking 11 hours to complete.
The procedure required many hands on deck, between two teams of surgeons (one working on each girl) and the dozen-plus medical staff on hand for assistance.
But in the end, it was well worth it. Sarabeth and Amelia were officially separated on August 5, 2020, and are expected to lead healthy and fully independent lives, doctors say.
One-year-old Sarabeth and Amelia defied incredible odds by surviving at birth and again by being successfully separated by surgeons, and they are now experiencing new firsts at home, including sleeping in separate beds and being held separately by their parents.
Dr. Marcie Treadwell, director of Michigan Medicine’s Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment Center, told the Detroit Free Press that only 1 in 100,000 to 1 in 250,000 pregnancies involve conjoined twins. Few of those babies actually survive the delivery, and it’s even less likely that they live long enough to head home from the hospital.
The fact that Sarabeth and Amelia did all that — and much more — is quite remarkable, but them being able to be separated and thrive is even more impressive.