craniopagus twins

Ladan (left and Laleh Bijani, the Iranian conjoined twins Dr Ben Carson and others operated on in an attempt to separate them in 2003

Ladan and Laleh Bijani, who were joined at the head, were twenty-nine years old when they decided to be separated. The separation of adult craniopagus twins had never been attempted because the outcome was almost certain to be death for both patients. Even Carson, ever the optimist, was not sure what the results would be. He tried to talk the two women out of surgery, but after many discussions with them, he agreed to move forward. Ladan and Laleh had law degrees, were extremely bright and, according to Carson, they knew exactly what was in store for them.

Carson and a team of more than one hundred surgeons, specialists, and assistants conducted the fifty-two hour operation on July 8, 2003, in Singapore. They used a 3-D imaging technique that Carson had developed for the Banda operation. The computerised images allowed the team to practice “virtually” before the operation and allowed them to follow a computerised reconstruction of the twins’ brains during surgery. Midway through the operation, however, complications set in, and Ladan and Laleh both died because of severe blood loss. 

Craniopagus twins Yvonne and Yvette McCarther were born in Los Angeles California to their mother Willa McCarther. Straight after birth, many people confronted her about the possibilities of offering the infants to perform in show business. The mother clearly declined these offers, but turned back on her word once she found she was too poor to pay for their hospital bills. After six months of touring with the circus, they gained enough money to pay off bills and take the children back home.

Later on into adult life, they spent their time as successful gospel singers and toured to various churches across the nation. The sisters grew to become very close and got along well. Although conjoined, interestingly enough they referred themselves as “I” as opposed to “we”.