conjoined twins


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conjoined twins,

congenitally united organisms that are complete or nearly complete individuals, historically known as Siamese twins. They develop from a single fertilized ovum that has divided imperfectly; complete division would produce identical twins, having the same sex and general characteristics. Conjoined twins remain attached at the abdomen, chest, back, or top of the head, depending on where the division of the ovum has failed. In some instances the individuals are joined only by a band of musculofibrous tissue and can be separated surgically, but in other instances they share vital organs and separation may not be possible. Sometimes an ovum divides in such a way that an organism develops having one body and two heads, or one head and two sets of limbs. About half of all conjoined twins are stillborn, and many die within a week or so of birth. When they do survive, fatal illness in one dooms the other unless separation is possible.

The name Siamese twins derives from the most famous of conjoined male twins, Chang and Eng, born in Siam (Thailand) of Chinese parents in 1811. They were exhibited in traveling shows worldwide for many years beginning in 1929. Retiring from touring in 1839, they settled in rural North Carolina, adopted the surname Bunker, and became U.S. citizens. Styling themselves as Southern gentlemen, they became prosperous slaveholders, married two sisters and fathered at least 21 children, and supported the Confederacy in the Civil War. They toured again for a while after the war. Never surgically separated, they died within several hours of each other in 1874.

See also multiple birthmultiple birth,
bringing forth of more than one offspring at birth. Although many smaller mammals bear several young at a time, multiple births are relatively uncommon in humans and other primates.
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Bibliography

See J. A. Orser, The Lives of Chang and Eng (2014) and Y. Huang, Inseparable (2018).

References in periodicals archive ?
The conjoined twin fetuses were separated by dissecting flexible skin fold at right rib-cage of protruded dead fetus.
Conclusions: Accurate preoperative evaluation, respiratory and circulatory management, and close cooperation of the multidisciplinary team are important aspects of anesthetic management of conjoined twins surgery.
Conjoined twins: morphogenesis of the heart and a review.
Aled Williams, and wife Laura have had a healthy baby boy after losing conjoined twins Faith and Hope (inset) after an operation to separate them
(3.) Types of conjoined twins. http://zygote.swarthmore.edu/cleave4a.html (accessed 15 July 2006).
A spokeswoman for Great Ormond Street Hospital yesterday said: "The separation of conjoined twins Faith and Hope Williams has been brought forward and is currently taking place, after some concerns developed on Monday night.
Abigail and Brittany say they're satisfied with life as a twosome, but the same is not true for all conjoined twins. In each case, families and doctors face a tough question--whether or not to attempt a risky surgery to separate them.
In her illuminating and highly readable new book, One of Us: Conjoined Twins and the Future of Normal, historian of medicine Alice Dreger looks beyond altruistic explanations for surgical separation to ask some important questions: How "successful" are these surgeries?
Conjoined twins are sometimes called Siamese twins.
Such surgery had only been performed on seven other sets of similarly conjoined twins. The twins are now home in Guatemala.
The anomaly of conjoined twins fascinates and amazes people around the world.
Conjoined twins are usually classified as one or some combination of eight distinct types (see Figure 1).