Separation Wasn’t Possible Until Age Four
Surgical separation of conjoined twins is more likely to be successful when they’re still young, but the organs Kendra and Maliyah shared made it impossible for them to receive the surgery while they were still toddlers. Among other organs, the twins shared a kidney, and this was the most problematic organ. One of the twins would have to keep the kidney, while the other twin would require a transplant. Transplanting a kidney in patients under four years old can cause serious, life-threatening complications. Most kidney donors are adults, and an adult-sized kidney wouldn’t fit comfortably or function as intended in a baby. So, despite having made their decision, the Herrin family had to wait until their girls grew a bit to get the surgery.