Once-conjoined twins Angelica and Angelina thrive six months after operation

Lucile Packard Children's Hospital
sabuco conjoined twins
A picture of formerly conjoined twins Angelica and Angelina Sabuco on April 25, 2012
Lucile Packard Children's Hospital

(CBS News) On November 1, 2011, when they were two years old, conjoined twins Angelica and Angelina Sabuco underwent separation surgery at Stanford University's Lucile Packard Children's Hospital in Palo Alto, Calif.

Conjoined twins undergo separation surgery in Calif.
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The twin girls from the Philippines were born joined at the chest and abdomen, and months of planning went into the procedure that was carried out at the Calif. hospital. The 10-hour operation was led by pediatric surgeon Dr. Gary Hartman of Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, and took more than 20 doctors and nurses from various health backgrounds to assist.

The procedure was a success, HealthPopreported, and doctors were hopeful for their recovery. As little as 10 days after the procedure, the girls were ready to head home.

Now, six months have passed. How are the girls doing with their independent bodies?

"They love to run around, go out, and play with other children now," mother Ginady Sabuco said in a hospital news release. "We are so grateful to Packard Children's."

The girls were the "guests of honor" at a party at the hospital on Monday along with many of the nurses and doctors who cared for them during their two-week hospital stay last fall, the Associated Press reported.

According to the hospital, the twins are flourishing into their distinct personalities - Angelica is the talkative one - and they recently enjoyed their first Easter egg hunt. In August the girls will celebrate their 3rd birthday for the first time separately.

"That is a great birthday gift!" said Ginady.

Dr. Hartman said the girls' recovery has been smooth and each time he sees them, they're more mobile and better adjusted. The girls have had to go physical and occupational therapy to build their strength and improve their gross- and fine-motor skills.

Since the girls were separated at the chest, they still visit with their plastic surgeon Dr. Peter Lorenz of Packard's Children's who had implanted a custom-made plate in the girls' chests where their sternum should be. The plates will dissolve later this year as the bones fuse, Lorenz said.

"I love seeing them and knowing that they are now living life as normal 2-year-olds," said Hartman. "That has been our goal all along."

Click to see new pictures of the twins, as well as before-and-after pictures from their surgery.