Chilean doctors separated conjoined twin girls early Wednesday after a marathon 18-hour surgery followed on television and the Internet, a hospital official said.
The 10-month-old twins are in stable condition even after losing a lot of blood during the operation. Now, teams of doctors are working on them individually after being separated, an official at Luis Calvo Mackenna Hospital said on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to speak to the media.
Parents Jessica Navarrete and Roberto Paredes kept an anxious vigil at the Santiago hospital as doctors separated twins Maria Paz and Maria Jose at the thorax, stomach and pelvis. It was the seventh and most complex operation yet for the twins.
Navarrete said she was waiting for "a miracle from God" when the high-risk operation began Tuesday morning.
The Chilean twins presented a particularly difficult challenge because they were born sharing many of the same internal organs and even urinary system. About 100 people participated in the procedure, including 25 surgeons and anesthesiologists.
Perhaps providing some comfort to the parents was the hospital's history with conjoined twins. Staff there have separated three sets before. A fourth set, however, died during surgery due to cardiac complications.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, one out of every 200,000 live births worldwide results in conjoined twins. About 35 percent survive only one day, while the overall survival rate is 5 percent to 25 percent.
The twins were born in the Villarrica hospital about 470 miles (760 kilometers) from Santiago and were kept under constant medical care, surviving with the aid of an artificial respirator.
Earlier this year, doctors separated the twins' legs, urinary tracts, pulmonary systems and other parts of their bodies.