Conjoint Twins- Causes and Treatment


Often the newspapers and media become abuzz with the birth of conjoined twins. Two brothers or sisters who are physically connected to each other.  They look different. In some countries of the world, they are still used as the attraction of many amusement shows. Conjoined twins are often joined by the brain, hip, waist or legs. They also face many difficulties in their daily routine. In short, these people cannot leave normally. But, what is the cause? Why does this happen? Medical science is still unsuccessful to surgically separate conjoined twins in many cases.


Both fraternal twins(Dizygotic twins) and identical twins(monozygotic twins) can be born as conjoined twins. But in both cases the causes are different. Doctors are researching continuously to find the factors which cause the birth of conjoined twins. Although there are still no definite causes some key factors have been discovered.

If one or more eggs are released during ovulation and both eggs become fertilized then fraternal twins are born. These twins can be of two different sex or the same sex. So, what causes conjoined twins in this case? If two separate embryos fuse together after the development process starts conjoined fraternal twins are born.

Identical twins or monozygotic twins are born from a single fertilized egg.  Usually, the egg splits into two equal halves before 12 days of conception and the halves start to develop into embryos. Therefore, two healthy babies are born. But, if the egg splits after 12 days (time period between 13th to 15th days) then the separation process stops half way and in result, conjoined twins are born. Monozygotic conjoined twins often have the same sex- either male or female.


There are no clear symptoms that indicate that an expecting mother is having conjoined twins. This makes detection difficult. Conjoined twins can be diagnosed using ultrasound during the early stages of pregnancy, like the ending of the first trimester. But, there is no such full proof process to determine if a woman has any possibility which can be described as one of the causes of Siamese twins.  Advanced and detailed ultrasound process and echocardiogram tests can be performed during the middle of pregnancy to determine if the twins are connected or not.


 Treatment in case of conjoined twins varies according to the circumstances and their health conditions.

·        During Pregnancy

During pregnancy, if conjoined twins are detected the doctors monitor the mother regularly. Special measures are taken and often a premature c-section is performed.

·        After Birth

After birth, if the children are healthy then doctors perform tests to know about their health conditions. They mainly search if the children share any vital organs, do they have the capability to endure a surgical process, or how many reconstruction surgeries need to be done, etc. Doctors perform a separation surgery after two to five months of their birth. In case one child dies others may face life intimidating situation. If this happens then doctor operates as soon as possible. If surgery is not an opt6ion then doctors may consider the twins to be left conjoined. In this case, special therapy and training are given to the parents and children.

Conjoined twins take birth due to some factors that cannot be controlled still now. They are not evil or alien as superstitious people think. These people have every right to live in a society. They can live a healthy life if proper facilities are given to them.

(based on talk with Medical Experts)

Tuesday, July 23, 2019