Joseph and Luka Banda
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - PART I
Joseph Banda and Luka Banda (born January 23, 1997 in Lusaka, Zambia) are formerly conjoined twins. They were born joined at the back of the skull and faced in opposite directions. In 1997, Dr. Ben Carson led a team of 50 Zambian and South African specialists to separate the 11-month-old twins in a 22-hour operation. They did not share any organs, but did share intricate blood vessels that flowed into each other's brains. In 2001, the twins were fitted with artificial skulls to permanently close their heads, and are neurologically normal. In an interview, Dr. Carson stated about the operation:
"In the end, the Bandas became the first Type 2 craniopagus twins (joined at the head and facing in opposite directions) ever separated with both surviving and both being neurologically normal."
They are currently residing in a low cost/high density area of Lusaka, called Chilenje South, opposite Chilenje Police Station.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - PART II
In 1987, Carson was the lead neurosurgeon of a 70-member surgical team that successfully separated conjoined twins, Patrick and Benjamin Binder, who had been joined at the back of the head (craniopagus twins); the separation surgery held promise in part because the twin boys had separate brains. Both boys entered the hospital "giggling and kicking" in preparation for surgery without which, it was said at the time, the seven-month-old twins would never have been able to crawl, walk, or turn over. The Johns Hopkins surgical team rehearsed the surgery for weeks, practicing on two dolls secured together by Velcro. Although follow-up stories were few following the Binder twins' return to Germany seven months after the operation, both twins were reportedly "far from normal" two years after the procedure, with one in a vegetative state. "I will never get over this . . . Why did I have them separated?" said their mother, Theresia Binder, in a 1993 interview. Neither twin was ever able to talk or care for himself, and both would eventually become institutionalized wards of the state. Patrick Binder died sometime during the last decade, according to his uncle, who was located by the Washington Post in 2015. The Binder surgery served as blueprint for similar twin separations, a procedure which was refined in subsequent decades. Carson participated in four subsequent high-risk conjoined twin separations, including a 1997 operation on craniopagus Zambian twins, Joseph and Luka Banda, which resulted in a normal neurological outcome. Two sets of twins died, including Iranian twins Ladan and Laleh Bijani; another separation resulted in the death of one twin and the survival of another, who is legally blind and struggles to walk.
According to the Washington Post, the Binder surgery "launched the stardom" of Ben Carson, who "walked out of the operating room that day into a spotlight that has never dimmed", beginning with a press conference that was covered worldwide, which created name recognition ultimately leading to publishing deals and a motivational speaking career.