Conjoined Twins Will be Separated With the Help of 3D Printing Technology

On June 9, a pair of little girls literally joined at the hip will be separated at a Chinese hospital.

The girls, who were born in March, pose an unprecedented challenge to the team at Children’s Hospital of Fudan University in Shanghai.

To help plan out the first surgery of its kind at the hospital, the medical team is using 3D printing technology to aid in their preparation of the complex separation, according to the Chinese News Service.

Zheng Shan, vice president of Fudan University, said that conjoined twins are a rare occurrence among live births and the twins joined at the hip are even rarer, representing only 18 percent of all conjoined twins.

As a result, the Fudan University team had little to draw on when planning the risky procedure.

Using cutting edge technology, however, the team has been able to practice the surgery on a 3D replica of the girls – created using 3D printing – allowing them to make out a detailed plan to separate the babies who share part of the same digestive tract and portions of their anus.

While the surgery is still risky, the doctors at Fudan University are confident the operation will be a success and the little girls will go on to lead healthy and separate lives.

Photo Credit: CNS