US girls joined at chest to be separated

In many ways, Angelina and Angelica Sabuco are like many other two-year-olds. The twin sisters love dancing and drawing.

But unlike most siblings, they can't get away from each other -- they were born attached at the chest and abdomen.

Yesterday, a team of doctors and nurses at Stanford University's Lucile Packard Children's Hospital are planning a 13-hour procedure to give "silent Inah" and "talkative Icah" their independence.

Joined at the hip: Conjoined twins Angelica and Angelina Sabuco with
their mother Ginady and child life specialist Allison Brooks. The twins will
undergo a 13-hour procedure to separate themselves from each other.

"We want them to live normally," said Ginady Sabuco, the girls' mother.

"When they argue, they can be alone. When they play, they can play together or apart. When they don't want to see each other, they won't have to."

Dr Gary Hartman, the lead surgeon on the girls' case, said keeping the girls joined carries bigger risks for their health. If one conjoined twin dies, the other will die within hours. Muscular and skeletal deformities can also worsen with time.

Hartman, who has done five separation procedures at medical centers around the country, was upbeat about the girls' prospects.

"Our expectation would be that we will have two healthy girls at the end of the operation," he said.
Angelica and Angelina are classified as thoraco-omphalopagus -- joined at the chest and abdomen.

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