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Doctors Separate Conjoined Twins in Utah

Doctors in the western U.S. state of Utah have successfully separated four-year-old conjoined twins after more than 14 hours of surgery.

The twins were fused at the abdomen, and shared two legs, one liver and one kidney. The operation on Kendra and Maliyah Herrin Monday left each girl with one leg, but only Maliyah has a kidney.

Her sister will have to stay on dialysis until she is strong enough to receive a transplant from her mother.

The surgeons at Primary Children's Medical Center in Salt Lake City bisected the girls' liver. The twins now must undergo about five more hours of reconstructive surgery, ending early Tuesday.

Most surgeries to separate conjoined twins are done at a younger age, but doctors chose to wait longer to improve Kendra's chance for a successful transplant.

To prepare the twins for their separation, doctors gave them conjoined dolls that they could snip with scissors to separate.

Conjoined twins occur in one in 50,000 to 100,000 births. Many of them die before or shortly after birth.