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Types of Conjoined Twins

Conjoined twins have fascinated people for centuries. They have been worshipped as gods and feared as monsters. They play a role in our myths and are marvelled at in circus sideshows. Once called "monstrosities," conjoined twins are increasingly accepted into our everyday lives as we grow to understand their unusual physical and emotional bonds and learn more about the science behind their development.

Conjoined Twins

There are no documented cases of conjoined triplets or quadruplets.

Types of Conjoined Twins

Conjoined twins are usually classified by the point at which they are joined (the Greek word pagos, meaning "that which is fixed"). There have been as many as three dozen separate types identified in the last century. The following basic classifications can be combined to more closely define individual cases

1. Conjunction never involving heart or umbilicus.

2. Conjunctions always involving the umbilicus.

3. Rare forms of conjoined twins, having different patterns.

Figure 1
Figure 1   Some examples of conjoined twins. (A) skeleton of cephalothoracopagus twins delivered in Philadelphia in 1851. This skeleton has four feet. (B) Death cast of ischiopagus conjoined twins who died at age 13 months, in November , 1871. (C) Skeleton of parapagus twins, showing fusion of the lower half. All specimen are from the Mütter Museum, Philadelphia, PA, with permission.
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