A Salt Lake City hospital is preparing for complicated surgery on Monday to separate 4-year-old twins joined at the abdomen.
It may take as long as 30 hours for a team of 35 surgeons and other specialists to divide the legs, liver, pelvis and large intestine that Kendra and Maliyah Herrin share, the Salt Lake City Tribune reports.
According to doctors at Primary Children's Medical Center, Kendra will keep the single kidney while Maliyah will be placed on dialysis until she can receive a donor kidney from her mother. Their liver and intestine will be shared, and each girl will retain one leg.
In preparation for the surgery, doctors inserted 17 balloon-like expanders into the girls' torso to stretch skin and tissue for reconstruction.
To help the girls understand what was ahead, the hospital provided conjoined twin dolls which they separated two weeks ago.
The girls' mother, Erin Herrin, learned something was wrong about halfway through her pregnancy when ultrasound revealed two conjoined babies.
In addition to the twins, Herrin and her husband have a 6-year-old daughter and 14-month-old twin boys.
Copyright 2006 by United Press International
Explore further: New smartphone application improves colonoscopy preparation