(WJBK) - Sisters born as one are now spending their first few days apart after a long journey from Uganda to Nationwide Children's Hospital in Ohio.
Acen and Apio Akello were born joined at the spine and pelvic region, but were recently separated by a team of surgeons after a 16 hour surgery.
"It took approximately 30 people in order to be able to successfully separate these twins," says Dr. Gail Besned at Nationwide. The 11-month-olds are now recovering.
Specialists carefully untwined their spinal cords as technicicans monitored nerve functions to identify which nerve belonged to Acen and which belonged to Apio.Then, their soft tissue was divided and, after a long reconstruction process, one became two.
"The surgery is going to be very helpful to the children because they will be able to feed on their own; they'll be able to grow up like normal children," says the girls' mother, Esther Akello via a translator.
"The look on the parents' faces when you tell them the babies are separated is something that you'll never get out of your mind. You remember it for the rest of your life," says Besned.