AD 945: There is a reference to Armenian omphalopagus twins.
1100-1134: Eliza and Mary Chulkhurst, who came to be called the ‘Biddenden Maids’ were pyopagus English conjoined twins. In their home village little cakes imprinted with their image are distributed at Easter.
1538: There is a record of omphalopagus twins born in Switzerland.
1811: Chang & Eng Bunker, the famous ‘Siamese Twins’ were circus performers who later became successful farmers, married and fathered many children.
1878: Rosa and Josepha Blazek were talented Bavarian violinists, joined at the sacrum (pyopagus twins).
Early Attempts at Surgical Separation
1495: In Germany, when one craniopagus twin died an unsuccessful attempt was made to remove it from the living twin.
1689: The first successful twin separation was performed in Basle, Switzerland on girls joined by a ligament at the sternum (xiphopagus twins). A constricting band was used.
1899: Brazilian sisters Maria and Rosalina were separated at the age of 8 and both survived.
1957: The first successful separation of craniopagus twins was performed by Dr. H.C. Voris.
Incidence of Conjoined Twins
In Western Countries:
1:50,000 -1:200,000 births
In Southeast Asia & Africa:
1:14,000 -1:25,000 births
The reason for this difference is unknown.
The increased incidence of conjoined twinning may have genetic causes.