Conjoined twins separated in Calif.: How are they doing?

Angelina (left) and Angelica sit with their aunt Marita Sabuco before surgery. AP

Conjoined twins Angelica and Angelina Sabuco
AP

(CBS/AP) Conjoined twins Angelica and Angelina Sabuco were separated Tuesday, following a nine-hour operation.

PICTURES: Conjoined twins Angelica and Angelina Sabuco

PICTURES: Conjoined twins: 34 amazing photos (GRAPHIC IMAGES)

The operation on the two-year-old sisters- who were joined at the chest and abdomen - was performed by a team of more than 40 at Stanford University's Lucile Packard Children's Hospital.

"This is a dream come true," their mother, Ginady Sabuco, tearfully said to reporters after the surgery. "Words cannot express how the family feels."

The surgery required separating livers, diaphragms, breastbones, and chest and abdominal wall muscles.

By mid-afternoon, the girls had moved to separate operating rooms at the hospital to reconstruct the area where they were connected.

The reconstruction included covering what plastic surgeon Dr. Peter Lorenz described as a "window" left in their chests after the separation. Since July, the girls had received weekly injections of sterile saltwater into balloons placed under their skin. The procedure stretched their skin and grew new skin to patch the area.

Two hours after the procedure, they were moved to the intensive care unit, each with a scar stretching from her chest to her belly.

"The long-term prognosis is that we should have a happy, healthy set of girls," said lead surgeon Dr. Gary Hartman, who said the procedure went smoothly. "We don't see any barrier to a full recovery,"

The twins moved to the U.S. from the Philippines with their mother last year and live in San Jose, Calif.

Despite being connected facing each other, they had been doing pretty well during their young lives -learning how to walk and reciting colors and numbers.

But Hartman said staying connected would have posed long-term health risks, including skeletal and muscle damage.

The girls were being kept sedated and doctors said they could be awakened as early as Wednesday. They were expected to be in the hospital for at least two weeks.

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