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Miracle of modern medicine

It was not until three decades ago that conjoined twins had much hope of surviving separation.

Until then, parents faced the agony that one child would die, and sometimes neither would survive due to blood loss and surgical complications.

In 1987, neurosurgeon Benjamin Carson, from John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, gained worldwide recognition as the first man to successfully separate craniopagus twins.

A 50-member surgical team worked 22 hours to separate Patrick and Benjamin Binder, who both survived.

Seven years ago James T Goodrich and David Staffenberg led the first multi-disciplinary medical team in a stage twin separation in New York.

Though Carl and Clarence Aguirre still require close monitoring, it was the first double separation with no immediate signs of neurological impairment.

Two members of yesterday's team, David Dunaway and Richard Hayward, led the first UK separation of craniopagus twins five years ago.