A set of six-week-old twins who were born joined at the abdomen have been successfully separated in a nine-hour operation involving 40 medical staff. Owen and Emmett Ezell are now recovering in their own beds in intensive care at Medical City Children's Hospital in Dallas, Texas - to the overwhelming relief of their parents, Dave and Jenni.
When the babies were born in Guthrie, Oklahoma on July 17, they shared a liver and intestines. Their parents, who have two other sons, moved to Dallas for the boys' medical care.
On Saturday, they were prepared for surgery and a team of doctors, surgeons and nurses worked to separate the boys, either of whom could have been lost in the operation, NewsOK reported.
More photos after the cuttt...
Brothers: Conjoined twins Owen and Emmett Ezell, pictured before their separation, have now been separated
Success: An image taken at the weekend shows the boys in separate beds for the first time in their lives
The Ezells were able to say goodbye before the boys were taken to surgery.
'As a mother, I hope I never have to experience a moment like that again,' Jenni Ezell wrote in her 'Ezell Twins' blog on Tuesday.
'I didn't know what was going to happen. I didn't know if I would see my babies alive again, if I would see only one, or if I would see them after they had gone to be with their creator.'
But doctors successfully separated the boys' shared liver and other parts of their digestive system.
Loved: Dave and Jenni Ezell say goodbye to their sons before they head to the nine-hour surgery
Concerns: Dave and Jenni become emotional as the boys are taken to surgery on Saturday
Brotherly love: Jenni watches as her eldest son Ethan comforts his little brothers Owen and Emmett, who shared a liver and some of their digestive system when they were born last month
They will need further surgeries in the future; after they are two-years-old, they will require 'skin expanders' for their wounds, their mother explained. Another operation will require surgeons to pull abdominal muscles into place, which should leave them with only a neat line of a scar
After this, if the parents wish, they can opt for the boys to have a third surgery to create a belly button for each of them.
But for now, the family is just taking it one day at a time.
'They're starting to open their little eyes, and they're starting to wiggle their little fingers,' their father, Dave Ezell, told NBC-DFW. 'You can see that recognition in their face. It's truly heartwarming.'
The family now hopes that the twins will be able to return home in time for Christmas.
Marvel: An ultrasound shows the boys attached at the abdomen while in Jennie's womb
Early days: Another image shows the babies after their birth. The family hopes they will be home by Christmas
'It's wonderful for us to be able to sit here and think about, "How are we going to bring these two boys home? What are they going to be like?"' Mr Ezell said.
The couple has kept family, friends and strangers up to date on the pregnancy, birth and surgery through their blog and on Facebook.
'As far as the rest of the future steps, I know healing, breathing independently of machines, and feeding are on the horizon, but I'm not sure how long it will take,' Jenni wrote on the blog.
'I'm hoping we will get to take them home by Christmas, but that might be wishful thinking.'
culled from DailyMail UK