by Rylie Guthrie
Craniopagus Parasiticus is a rare medical condition that results in two twins with conjoined heads, and occurs just once every 200,000 times. Conjoined twins are typically identical twins. Approximately 50% of conjoined twins are stillborn, 35% only survive the first 24 hours of being alive and only about 5-25% of conjoined twins survive according to HavingTwins.com.
Causes for craniopagus parasiticus are still widely unknown, but a proposed explanation is that the embryo would fail to separate during the crucial developing weeks. If the fetuses both survive the birthing process, then the twins go through extensive surgeries which are dangerous and often times fatal.
There are many different names for conjoined twins based on where they are conjoined. For example, according to Conjoined Twins: Types of Conjoined Twins, if two twins are conjoined at the base of the spine then that condition is called Pygopagus, and they often share the same urinary tract and genitals. If two twins are conjoined by the pelvis then that is called Ischiopagus. They would share the same lower gastrointestinal tract, liver, bladder etc.
This past week, conjoined 13 month old twins Jadon and Anisa McDonald have been separated after a 16.5 hour surgery at the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx.
This surgery performed on Jadon and Anisa has marked to be the 59th separation surgery since 1952. Dr. Goodrich, the doctor who carried out the surgery, had not performed craniopagus surgery for about 12 years.
According to CNN, Nicole McDonald, mother of Jadon and Anisa says, “It’s one of the most profound moments of my life.”
Jadon is in recovery and continues to show signs of successful improvement, while Anisa is still experiencing some seizures but is shown an effective recovery as well.
The family has also organized a “Go Fund Me” page to help the family pay for their future medical expenses and past surgeries