Abby and Brittany Hensel took the world by storm when they appeared on TLC. The conjoined twins have spent most of their lives in the public eye, showing the world how siblings who are conjoined go through with every day tasks.
Abby and Brittany share a body, but have two separate heads and brains. They are completely different people and emphasize they want to be treated as such.
This is the break down of how their body is distributed:
- 2 heads
- 2 spines merging at the coccyx and joined at the thorax by sections of ribs. Surgery was employed to correct scoliosis.
- 2 completely separate spinal cords
- 2 arms (originally 3, but rudimentary central arm was surgically removed, leaving central shoulder blade in place)
- 1 broad ribcage with 2 highly fused sternums and traces of bridging ribs. Surgery was employed to expand the pleural cavities.
- 2 breasts
- 2 hearts in a shared circulatory system (nutrition, respiration, medicine taken by either affects both)
- 4 lungs with the medial lungs moderately fused, not involving Brittany’s upper right lobe; three pleural cavities
- 1 diaphragm with well-coordinated involuntary breathing, slight central defect
- 2 stomachs
- 2 gallbladders
- 1 liver, enlarged and elongated right lobe
- Y-shaped small intestine, which experiences a slightly spastic double peristalsis at the juncture
- 1 large intestine (one colon)
- 3 kidneys: 2 left, 1 right
- 1 bladder
- 1 set of reproductive organs
- 2 separate half-sacrums, which converge distally
- 1 slightly broad pelvis
- 2 legs
Watching Abby and Brittany grow up through TLC specials, the world saw them go to school, celebrate their birthdays, and even get their driver’s license (yes, they each had to pass separately.)
Abby and Brittany’s parents contemplated separation, but ultimately decided against it because it was likely one of the twins wouldn’t survive.
Their first appearance on TV was in 1996 on The Oprah Winfrey Show. The twins captured everyone’s hearts with their upbeat attitudes and positive views on life.
In 2012, their last TLC special aired which ultimately turned into a full-blown TV show for them. Since 2013, however, they have been keeping a relatively low profile.
Now, in 2017, the twins are teaching (together, obviously) at Mounds View elementary school.
It’s great to see that Abby and Brittany are able to lead normal lives after being so publicized in their early life!
Do you remember Abby and Brittany Hensel? You can watch a full documentary on the twins here.