conjoined twins

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This is an uncommon complication of monozygous twinning in which there is fusion of the twins.  The scientific term here is craniothoracopagus, or twins joined at the head and chest. There is only one brain, and the hearts and gastrointestinal tracts are fused as well.

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This is an example of thoracopagus. Note the large omphalocele in the lower abdomen shared by these monozygous twins. These twins shared a heart and liver and several other organs were partially fused. Attempts at separation of such twins can either be viewed as heroic new technology or expensive futility. The survival rate is nil.


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