Jadon and Anias McDonald were born joined at the head last September. On Thursday evening, 40 medical professionals spent 16 hours disconnecting Jadon and Anias in a rare operation. The McDonalds are from Coal City, Illinois, but the surgery was performed at Montefiore Medical Centre in New York City, led by surgeon Dr. James Goodrich, who “used high-tech imaging systems to help fully detach the boys’ skull and brain tissue,” according to The Independent.
“The boys ended up sharing a 5 x 7 cm area of brain tissue with no definite plane for dissection ... so Dr. Goodrich had to make the call and the final cut based on his instinct,” their mother Nicole McDonald wrote in a Facebook post. Jadon handled the procedure like “a rock star.” Anias’ blood pressure and heart rate dropped during the surgery, and doctors “are predicting that at first he may not be able to move one or both sides of his body, based on the area of brain that was dissected.”
On Friday, the twins underwent skull reconstruction surgery. “We are standing on the brink of a vast unknown,” McDonald said.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, the survival rate of (any type) conjoined twins falls between 5 and 25 percent. Only 2 percent of conjoined twins are born connected at the head. Dr. Goodrich is expert in separating twins conjoined at the head—there have only been 59 craniopagus surgeries since 1952, seven of which Dr. Goodrich has performed. Both Jadon and Anias are very lucky to have to made it through.