Successful separation of Twins [Photo Story]

Successful separation of Twins [Photo Story]

Riverside : CA : USA | Apr 01, 2011 at 3:48 AM PDT
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Siblings attached:

Seven years ago, Macey and Mackenzie Garrison were born as conjoined twins, attached at the pelvis and sharing a third leg and intestines. They were in the womb with a triplet sister, who was born normally.

In September 2003, the girls were successfully separated and now continue to live active lives, taking gym classes, horseback riding and more. Take a look at their journey.

Parents' love:The birth parents of Macey, Mackenzie and their sister Madeline had drug problems, so the girls were placed in foster care. Jeff Garrison, pictured here, and his wife Darla adopted all three children and brought them home to Riverside, Calif.

The couple had been foster parents to 10 other children through the years, but the conjoined twins were a new challenge. They each weighed 2.2 pounds at birth and had a colostomy bag. Both had problems with speech and learning.

Grueling surgery:

On Sept. 10, 2003, Mackenzie and Macey went through a 24-hour surgery at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles in order to be separated. They were nine months old.

The separation:

Surgeons had to divide the girls' fused livers, give the large instestine to Mackenzie, and amputate the third leg. They also had to rebuild the girls' pelvises.

All smiles:

The sisters remained playful during their recovery: This photo was taken just five days after their surgery at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles.

The stats:

In the U.S., one in 200,000 live births result in conjoined twins, and more than 70 percent are girls, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Baby steps:

Mackenzie and Macey were given prosthetic legs and worked with a phsyical therapist to learn to walk.

A winning team:

Mom Darla Garrison told TODAY that she's thankful for the doctors at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles. "It was an enormous team ... I don't even know the number," she said. "The way they coordinated and just the way they took care of us ... we just really appreciate it."

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sahussain is based in Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan, and is a Stringer on Allvoices.
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