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Last Updated: Aug 19th, 2006 - 22:18:38

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Conjoined American twins separated
Aug 9, 2006, 12:46, Reviewed by: Dr. Priya Saxena

'We are shedding many tears today, Not so much because we are scared or nervous, but because we are mourning their last day conjoined.'

Four-year-old American twin girls joined at mid-torso were separated, their family reported a little more than 12 hours into the ongoing surgery that stretched into Tuesday morning.

Surgeons in Salt Lake City, Utah, had separated Kendra and Maliyah Herrin's liver, intestines, pelvis, sternum and the sac around their heart in the surgery that began Monday morning, the family said.

'The girls are technically separated,' according to their father Jake Herrin. 'They are doing great separately', as the girls were moved into separate operating rooms.

The operation at Primary Children's Hospital was billed as the first to try to separate twins, who share a kidney.

Ahead of the surgery, the girls' medical team said it planned for Kendra to keep the kidney and Maliyah would go on dialysis until she recovers from this week's procedure and could receive a transplant from her mother.

The girls are also to each get one of their shared legs, and surgeons planned to bisect the girls' liver and reconstruct their pelvis.

The family was receiving hourly updates from the surgical team and reported progress on their website.

The family reported 'no road bumps so far' and expressed optimism and surprise that Kendra had to have the first blood transfusion of the operation 11 hours into the procedure.

Despite the risks of the complicated surgery, the family said they had decided to go ahead because the girls saw themselves as living separate lives as adults.

'We are shedding many tears today,' said one of their website postings. 'Not so much because we are scared or nervous, but because we are mourning their last day conjoined.'

- Indo-Asian News Service

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