Surgery Separates Conjoined Twins

Early Show - of Five-month-old Alex and Angel Mendoza weigh 12 pounds each joined at liver separation surgery today - Jan. 15, 2009 CBS

Conjoined twins have been separated in Phoenix.

Alex and Angel Mendoza were born in August joined from the sternum to the pelvis, and shared a liver.

Early Show correspondent Debbye Turner Bell was at Children's Hospital during the 14-hour operation, which involved 19 medical professionals.

The separation of the twins was, Turner says, an amazing journey.

And The Early Show was there as it all unfolded:



Four hours into the surgery, lead surgeon Dr. Stuart Lacey announced in the operating room, "We have divided the liver."

"My stomach just dropped, like, 'Oh, my gosh!," ' the twins' mother, Ashley Frank, told Bell.

Nine hours in, Lacey made what he called "the last cut" separating Angel and Angel.

Lacey announced to Frank, "Your two, separate little boys are doing fine. They're both on their backs at the same time for the first time ever."

Staffers, who'd become like family to the twins, were embracing warmly after the surgery.

Turner says Lacey told her Friday morning the twins are "doing great," but still have several operations ahead of them: "They have to see how what they did heals and develops."
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