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Twins born conjoined going home 2 weeks after separation surgery

November 15, 2011 |  2:30 pm

Twin girls
The 2-year-old sisters separated in a grueling 10-hour surgery this month after being born conjoined are strong enough to go home, where they’ll still share a room but will now sleep in separate beds.

Angelica and Angelina Sabuco had been attached at the chest and abdomen before undergoing a rare and complex operation two weeks ago at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford University in Palo Alto.

"We are so excited to go home and see them sitting in their own car seats," mother Ginady Sabuco said at a news conference at the hospital Monday, the San Jose Mercury News reported. "We cannot wait to see them walking and running" – something that was impossible before the surgery.

During the news conference, the girls seemed like typical young children, paying little attention to the media throng. Angelica seemed more interested in a book she was looking at, while Angelina was distracted by a large bag of marshmallows she carried.

Since the operation, Angelina and Angelica have received physical therapy, in part to train each sister how to stand on her own without the other as a counter-balance, hospital officials said. They’ve also had therapy to help them walk forward instead of with the sideways gait they were forced to use.

"We’re thrilled that they'll now be able to run, play and enjoy very full lives as individual sisters," said Dr. Gary Hartman, who performed the surgery — his sixth successful separation of conjoined twins.

Angelica and Angelina were born in the Philippines but moved to San Jose with their mother last year to join their father, Fidel, who works as a technician for a Bay Area company.

Conjoined twins are rare, and because most of them die soon after birth, separation surgeries are even more uncommon, the hospital reported. About six of the procedures are typically performed in the United States each year.


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Photo: The Sabuco family, from left: Angelina, Ginady, Angelica and Fidel. Credit: Lucile Packard Children's Hospital

Video: Lucile Packard Children's Hospital