CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas -- Surgeons at a South Texas hospital have succeeded in separating two 10-month-old sisters born conjoined below the waist.
Driscoll Children's Hospital spokesman Jeff Salzgeber says the operation began Tuesday morning. It took just over 12 hours to complete.
The two girls, Ximena and Scarlett Hernandez-Torres, were born sharing a colon and bladders that needed to be reconstructed. Their identical triplet sister, Catalina, was born without serious health issues.
The hospital staff has cared for the conjoined twins since they were transferred to the Corpus Christi facility hours after their birth last May.
"We are so pleased that this complicated procedure went smoothly," pediatric surgeon Haroon Patel, M.D., who led the surgical team, said in a statement. "The success of such a rare and challenging operation like this depends on having a skilled team of professionals working together, and I thank our great personnel for their hard work."
Patel said a team of specialists worked for months to prepare for the surgery.
A hospital statement says doctors have a positive outlook for the children's recovery. The girls will require additional surgeries as they grow.
Their mother, Silvia Hernandez, told CBS News last month that she's been anticipating the operation with some mixed feelings.
"Since they were born, I have been waiting anxiously for them to be separated because I want to hold them separately in my arms and hold them close. But the closer the surgery day is getting, I don't want it to happen. But of course I want it to happen so they can have a normal life," said Hernandez.
"My daughters are in hands of God and his will will be done."