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

References in periodicals archive ?
A pair of conjoined twin boys who were attached by their abdomens were successfully separated from one another during an operation this month.
Specialists at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston brought a new approach to these challenges when they set out to surgically separate Knatalye Hope and Adeline Faith Mata, conjoined twins from Lubbock, Texas.
CONJOINED TWINS - Born to a poor Muslim couple, Sittie and Hawa are conjoined at the mid-section after they were delivered by ceasarian section by their mother Mimi Sabpa in Datu Hofer, Maguindanao.
MRI report showed thoracopagus conjoined twins with single heart.
The conjoined twins arise from a single ovum and are monozygotic.
Conjoined twins are rarely seen in medical practice, and the incidence is reported as 1 in 50.
Saudi Arabia has gained an outstanding reputation for surgeries to part conjoined twins.
THE parents of conjoined twins who lost their battle for life two years ago have celebrated the birth of a baby boy.
CONJOINED twins Hassan and Hussein Benhaffaf flew to London yesterday for separation surgery.
THE parents of conjoined twins have paid tribute to their "little fighters".
SALAH AL-DIN / Aswat al-Iraq: A team of surgeons at the Tikrit Teaching Hospital on Saturday separated conjoined twins fused at the thorax, diaphragm, heart and liver in a landmark operation considered the first ever in Iraq, a medic said.