Formerly conjoined twins Jadon and Anias McDonald have finally gone home, 11 months after their 27-hour separation surgery.
After their operation at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx last October, the boys had to do months of rehab therapy at Blythedale Children’s Hospital in Westchester, New York.
They began their rehab treatments last December and were just this week able to travel home.
The boys have struggled with health issues such as seizures and infections since their surgery.
One of them, Anias, will probably have to have an operation on his skull at the age of seven and, until then, he will need to wear a protective helmet.
But, even though they will need to go to rehab three days a week, the pair are now stable enough to be able to stay at home with their parents, Nicole and Christian, their brother, Aza, four, and the family dogs, Taz and Tyson, CNN has reported.
Dr. Oren Tepper and Dr. James Goodrich holding a pair of formerly conjoined twins, Jadon, left and Anias in New York
The boys were born via cesarean section in September 2016 near Chicago, Illinois. They were attached by the brain and the skull
Brotherly love: Jadon (left) and Anias (right) pictured thriving in hospital shortly before being discharged to go to rehab
The now 23-month-old twins were born in September 2015 attached at the brain and the skull.
They both suffered infections following their separation surgery, and Anias developed seizures that were controlled with medication.
Seizures aren’t uncommon among twins who were conjoined at the brain, Montefiore said.
Despite the challenges, the hospital said the boys were able to breathe on their own, eat, interact with their family and play with one another following their surgery.
The 40-person surgical team that separated the twins was led in part by Dr. James Goodrich.
They were the seventh set of twins joined at the head that he has helped successfully separate.
He called it one of his ‘most difficult cases.’
After the twins arrived at the hospital in February, the four-stage separation procedure was planned, in-part, by using 3D printing technology to map the boys’ anatomy.
Dr Goodrich and Dr Oren Tepper, who also led the surgery, continued to monitor the boys’ progress during rehabilitation.
Nicole and Christian insisted the boys were perfect as they were. But in order to let them lead a normal life, they traveled to Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx, New York, to have one of the world’s most esteemed surgeons perform the rare operation to separate their heads
Anias and Jadon, who have an older brother, Aza, were technically called ‘craniopagus twins’ – a phenomenon that occurs just once in every 2.5million births
Nicole posted a video of them after they left the hospital following their separation surgery. The adorable clip showed the boys cuddling – something they could never do before – and speaking
The boys were born via cesarean section in Chicago, Illinois, where their parents Nicole and Christian raised their first son Aza, who is now four years old.
But in order to let the twins lead a normal life, they traveled to Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx, New York, to have one of the world’s most esteemed surgeons perform the incredibly rare operation to separate their heads.
The operation cost $2.5million. A Go Fund Me page was made to help the family with the cost of the expensive surgery.
When the boys were transferred from the hospital where their surgery was done to a rehabilitation center, their mother, Nicole McDonald, said, ‘This is a bittersweet day for us.
‘We are so proud of the strength our boys show us every day as they progress in their recovery, and we are looking forward to seeing them thrive in rehab, but the people at Montefiore have become our extended family.
‘They have supported us every step of the way and we will miss them and this community so much.’
Today, the boys got to go home to live with their mother, father (right) and older brother Aza, four (center)
During their time in rehab, the boys learned how to see the world sitting up, as, prior to their surgery, they were confined to lying on their backs because of the brain tissue that the two of them shared.
Anias had difficulty breathing during rehab and was originally scared and shy, but doctors have said he has grown much stronger that he was in December during his time in rehab.
His physical therapist, Maureen Carroll, said that Anias’s progress has been inspiring.
‘He wants to play, he wants to move – and that’s amazing,’ Carroll told CNN.
She added: ‘The child who was afraid of people at first now wants to interact with the world. He’s motivated and that’s huge.’
And as Jadon and Anias learned how to use muscles that they had never previously exercised, their parents worked overtime to prepare their home.
Nicole (right) said she is excited for her sons to come home so that the family of five can finally be whole again, has Jadon and Anias have not been home since their operation in October last year
Their father Christian worked on their home to finish its renovations up until the last minute, 24 hours before the boys were set to go home.
The night before the twins’ homecoming, Nicole cooked dinner in her home, something she rarely got to do because of her trips back and forth to the hospital.
‘My kids have never been home separate,’ she said while chopping onions for the chili she was making. ‘I’m excited. I can hardly stand it.’
Christian added: ‘I’m feeling pretty excited getting to hold my kids sitting on my couch and actually just hold one at a time. It’s like I have my sons now, you know?’
As Jadon and Anias pulled up to their home early this morning in the family’s minivan, the McDonald’s dogs, Taz and Tyson, greeted them.
Nicole carried Anias into his home and comforted him when he started crying because he was frightened by a dog.
Her husband carried Jadon in from the car, saying to him: ‘This is it. This is your home.’