VALHALLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — One week after a risky separation surgery, a pair of formerly conjoined twins made their first public appearance Tuesday.
11-month-old Ballenie and Bellanie Camacho were born in the Dominican Republic connected at the lower back.READ MORE: Newborn Twins Found Dead In Queens, Mother In Custody
As CBS2’s Alice Gainer reports, the process began last year. Doctors first needed to figure out if surgery was even possible.
“The children were connected with a large major vascular structure with cross circulation involving both babies,” Dr. Whitney McBride said in a Tuesday press conference. “This was the relatively high risk part of the procedure.”
There were multiple operations before the main event last week, according to McBride.
The surgery to separate the girls lasted 21 hours between Jan. 17 and 18 at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital in Westchester County.
The twins came out little red wagons Tuesday — Ballanie’s with a pink handle, and Bellanie’s with a blue handle.
Their mother Laurilin Celadilla Marte is thrilled.
“When I saw them for the first time it was incredible,” she said through a translator.READ MORE: COVID On Long Island: Oyster Bay Offers Saliva-Based COVID Testing As Town Continues On Road To Reopening
Pediatric surgeon Dr. Samir Pandya helped lead the daring operation.
“They were conjoined right at the middle of the sacrum, at that’s the tailbone,” he said. “They had one common spinal cord.”
Dr. McBride remains hopeful.
“So while the separation is done and a major component of their recovery is underway, there’s still a long way to go,” he said.
A dozen surgeons from five pediatric specialties and more than 50 medical professionals took part in the complex and rare procedure, according to the hospital.
“I always dreamt that they would be separated and they would live a normal life,” Marte said.
The surgery was the first of its kind at the facility and the first in New York’s Hudson Valley region.MORE NEWS: On Day Of Beloved Father's Funeral, Long Island Family Says They Learned Someone Else Was Buried In His Plot
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