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      After 7 hours, about 40 surgeons successfully separate conjoined twins

      A team of about 40 doctors, surgeons, and other medical staff separated Allison and Amelia Tucker, the pair of conjoined twins from Adams, NY, on Wednesday. The girls were joined at the lower chest and abdomen and shared their chest wall, diaphragm, pericardium and liver.

      Led by Holly Hedrick, M.D, the complex procedure began at 6:30 a.m. Wednesday morning. At approximately 3:40 p.m. Wednesday afternoon, the surgeons successfully separated the conjoined twins. It is the 21st time the surgeons at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia have separated a pair of twins.

      "Like all separations of conjoined twins, this was a very complex surgery, but it went very well and as expected," Dr. Hedrick says. "Allison and Amelia are currently recovering in the Newborn/Infant Intensive Care Unit and will be monitored closely by CHOP's expert clinical teams for the duration of their recovery."

      St. Cecillia's Catholic Church in Adams held a prayer vigil for the twins where parishioners prayed in shifts beginning at 6:00 a.m. Wednesday morning. In front of the altar was a podium with a photograph of the Tucker Twins.

      Before the surgery , Dr. Hedrick said in a statement that doctors expected that after surgery, recovery and therapy, the girls "will be able to live full, healthy and independent lives." She said the the infants were "excellent candidates for separation."