Conjoined twins successfully separated in Memphis

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- Doctors said practice was the key to successfully separating conjoined twins at Memphis' Le Bonheur Children's Hospital.

For the anesthesia team, that included sewing together two Cabbage Patch dolls to practice flipping them without tangling the various lines that would be attached during surgery.

Joshua and Jacob Spates were joined back to back at the pelvis and lower spine, each with separate hearts, heads and limbs.

The 7-month-old boys were separated on Aug. 29 but it was not announced until Tuesday. On Wednesday, doctors involved in the procedure spoke to reporters about the challenges. That included avoiding injury to the spine that could leave them paraplegic.

Doctors said the boys have health problems that will require ongoing treatment, but they hope both will be able to walk with braces.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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