Conjoined Twins Abby and Brittany Reveal Astonishing News Years Later

By: Mia Williams | Last updated: Apr 19, 2022

Abby and Brittany Hensel are conjoined twins who have mystified the world for the past 30 years. Defying all the odds to purely survive to this day, they have been kind enough to share their journey with the world. Now, they have released an announcement that left the world stunned.

What type of announcement did they share and how is this going to impact their lives moving forward? Everyone is dying to find out just what they have to say!

Abby and Brittany Hensel Share Their Journey

The twins have been kind enough to share their journey with the rest of the world. Even though they faced their challenges, their lives continued to captivate audiences not just in the United States but all over the world!

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They shared their triumphs and tribulations with the rest of the world, letting people have just a taste of what life is like as a pair of conjoined twins. Now, more than 20 years later, they shared the next chapter of their journey.

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Abby and Brittany Hensel: Unique from Birth

Conjoined twins Abby and Brittany Hensel entered this world on March 7 of 1990. Born in Carver County, MN, doctors discovered that they were not only conjoined twins, but incredibly rare, even for conjoined twins. Abby and Brittany Hensel are dicephalic parapagus twins.

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This means that they each have one head and an entirely unified body. Even among conjoined twins, it is clear that Abby and Brittany are unique! Of course, this was followed by an incredibly unusual journey as well!

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Abby and Brittany Defy the Odds

Conjoined twins have an incredibly low survival rate. Conjoined twins are only seen about once out of every 189,000 births. Even among that population, only about one in nine of all conjoined twins are dicephalic parapagus, such as Abby and Brittany Hensel.

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Clearly, the chances of Abby and Brittany being born this way was incredibly low. Not only were they born, but they survived as well! It is clear that many people believe the pair are nothing short of a miracle!

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The Hensel Twins Have a Unique Anatomy

While Abby and Brittany Hensel are already unique on the outside, their inner workings are just as extraordinary. For instance, the upper body has a separate pair of organs for each twin despite their appearance. This means that their bodies have two stomachs, two hearts, and four lungs.

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On the other hand, their lower bodies are completely conjoined. They have only one liver, one large intestine, and one reproductive system. Truly, their bodies are a modern marvel! Just how did they deal with this?

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What Happens When They Get Sick?

When Abby and Brittany Hensel feel ill, they truly deal with extraordinary situations. For example, Abby can only feel discomfort on the left side of her body while Brittany only has sensation on her right.

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On the other hand, if one member of the pair has a stomach ache, the other twin feels the discomfort on the other side! While this might sound confusing to us, this is all that they know! Therefore, it is totally normal for them! What about body temperature?

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Abby and Brittany Discuss Body Temperature on TV

In addition to the numerous other challenges that Abby and Brittany have to face, they also have two separate body temperatures. Given that body temperature is regulated by the brain, which the girls have two of, this makes sense. It also seems as though they have a line drawn down the middle.

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Sometimes, one twin is sweaty while the other feels just fine. This must be confusing for them from time to time! It’s so interesting to think that only one half of the pair can be sweating at certain times.

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Different Motor Control for Each Twin as Well!

In addition, both twins each have control over one half of the body! This means that each twin controls only one arm and one leg. How hard must it be for them to learn how to walk? Most of us use rhythm between both of our legs to get ourselves from place to place!

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Instead, they have to coordinate their strides! In addition, they have learned how to run, brush their hair, swim, and even drive! Can you imagine driving while only having control of one leg?

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How Did Abby and Brittany Learn How To Drive?

Of course, many people were curious about how Abby and Brittany learned how to drive a car. They both had to sit for the exam separately. In fact, each twin has her own driver’s license even though they have to drive a car together!

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This means that, somehow, the twins had to take the driving test and written test separately. Can you imagine that? That must have been a unique experience for everyone who was in the room that day!

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They Continue To Work Together To Drive a Car

It took a while for Abby and Brittany to master the teamwork of driving. For example, one twin is in control of the gas while the other twin is in charge of the brakes. One twin also has control over the turn signal.

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This means that each twin has to place a lot of faith in the other. Fortunately, they agree that both twins are good drivers! This is great not only for them but also for everyone else who might be on the road around them!

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How Do The Twins Get Dressed in the Morning?

It can also be a challenge for them to get dressed in the morning. Over the years, the twins have had to learn to compromise. Sometimes, one twin does not agree with the other when it comes to the look of the day.

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Even though the twins have their different styles, they have learned to compromise over the years. Wouldn’t it be interesting to see the twins sporting different looks on the same body? Luckily, this doesn’t happen much!

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Natural Looks Versus Bright and Colorful

When it comes to getting dressed, Abby tends to favor bright, colorful looks. On the other hand, Brittany enjoys a more muted vibe. This also has to do with their personalities! It makes sense that because Abby likes brighter colors, she is also the more outspoken of the pair!

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She is usually the first one to speak up. It is the differences in their personalities and styles that make Abby and Brittany Hensel a lot of fun to be around!

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They Lead Different Social Lives as Well

It should make sense that because Abby is more outgoing, she is more likely to socialize with others. Perhaps that is where her bright clothes come from. Even though Abby is more social, Brittany claims to be the one who likes to explore the world more often.

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Abby does like to socialize, but she also describes herself as more of a “homebody.” This is just another way that their differences make for an interesting pair! What else separates the two?

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Abby and Brittany Discuss a Fear of Heights

There are other ways that Abby and Brittany Hensel are different as well! For example, Brittany has a fear of heights! This is not something that Abby shares. In addition, Brittany tends to like art classes more. In contrast, Abby tends to like hard sciences, such as biology.

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There are other interesting differences as well. Abby doesn’t seem to have any problems drinking coffee while Brittany develops a racing heart if she consumes caffeine! Isn’t that rather interesting?

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The Pair Lead a Normal Life Together

Overall, it is the differences between Abby and Brittany Hensel that keep their lives interesting. Despite this, they have been able to lead somewhat normal lives. They have figured out how to study on their own.

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They also have jobs. They even have social engagements from time to time. On the other hand, the two do keep something from the public eye. They do not discuss whether they are in a relationship of any kind. That they decide to keep private.

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The Twins Have Made Plenty of Strong Friendships

Even if they do not talk about their significant others, Abby and Brittany Hensel have been able to form plenty of strong friendships that they take great joy in sharing! For example, the two enjoy traveling the world.

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When they travel, they do receive a lot of unwanted attention; however, like other areas of their lives, they have learned to deal with this effectively. They even have their own passports even if they share a seat on the plane when they fly!

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Abby and Brittany Get the Protection of Travelers

Fortunately, Abby and Brittany Hensel are great at making friends. When they travel from place to place, they often see others taking pictures of them as soon as they get off the plane.

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Even though they are vigilant for people snapping photos of them when they land, they usually travel with friends who watch out for them. Sometimes, their fellow travelers will even provide them with some protection from people who simply see them as a circus show, which is sad.

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Their Friends Always Look Out for Them

Sometimes, Abby and Brittany Hensel’s friends are willing to discuss what life is like as well. For example, a pal of theirs, named Erin, simply explained that she wants to make sure the twins are safe. Because they attract a lot of attention, not all of the attention is good.

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Even though Abby and Brittany are used to the attention they receive, some crowds can still be draining for them. Therefore, it is nice to have friends around who watch out for them!

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The Twins Are Amazingly Resilient People

Of course, Abby and Brittany are different from anyone else. Therefore, they do everything they can to make the world a better place. Unfortunately, they do receive a lot of unwanted attention. According to their friends, they have become incredibly resilient people.

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This means that the twins serve as a shining example to everyone else who might be different, yet they too can survive in this world. The twins have a lot of potential that they work hard to realize every day.

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The Twins’ Mother Is the Same as Any Other

If you were to ask any mother what she wanted for her child, she would likely say that she wants her child to be happy and successful. That is exactly what the twins’ mother wants as well. She simply wants them to be happy, healthy, and successful.

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Even though she keeps up with what her children are doing, she doesn’t pry like the rest of the world does. Instead, she simply wants her kids to check in with her occasionally. She only wants to know that they are okay.

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The Twins Make Regular Appearances on TV

As a way to use their platform in a positive way, the twins make regular appearances on TV to share their stories. For example, the twins went on The Oprah Winfrey Show at just six years of age. Then, the twins landed on the cover of Life Magazine as well.

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This has only led to the international acclaim the twins deal with today. Even though it certainly took some adjustments, the twins have gotten used to the fame and deal with it well.

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Abby and Brittany Have Even Made a Documentary

When the girls were around 12 years of age, they decided to make a documentary of their life. The documentary was titled Joined for Life, and the documentary was a major hit! It turns out lots of people wanted to know what the girls’ lives were like as conjoined twins!

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Eventually, they went on to land another series about their lives, called Abby and Brittany, which aired on BBC. This was quite an experience for them, particularly at such a young age.

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The Twins Use Their Platform in a Positive Way

Even though the twins did have to think carefully about how they were going to use the platform, they wanted to show the world what it was like to live as conjoined twins.

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Even though the world watched with amazement, Abby and Brittany Hensel wanted to show their viewing audience that they lived a life that was just like everyone else’s even though they are never able to physically separate from one another. They enjoyed showing the world what they do.

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Abby and Brittany Lead a Fun Life

It is always interesting when people meet the twins for the first time! They expect to hear something unusual! In reality, the twins take great pleasure in letting people know that they do the same things as anyone else. They try to show that their lives are not that different from anyone else.

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Sure, the twins know that their conditions do complicate some aspects of their lives; however, they do enjoy a sense of normalcy, engaging in typical activities for their age.

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The Twins Attend Bethel University

The show covered a variety of topics as the twins grew up. The twins left home for the first time and attended Bethel University. After that, they both had to go out and get jobs. This is something that they did together as they would have to work together at all times.

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It was an opportunity for the audience to get an inside look at exactly what it was like to find a job as conjoined twins. Of course, it led to a unique college experience as well.

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Abby and Brittany Share a Future Together

Fortunately, the twins were both interested in the same topics. They both wanted a future in education. Even though they did think about specializing in different areas of teaching, they realized that they would have to study the same topic side by side.

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Out of all the options available to them, they decided to study elementary education. They wanted to work with kids at of formative age, which this career path afforded them. Now, what would the future hold for them?

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The Twins Reveal Their Exciting News to the World

Of course, the entire series was leading up to a big reveal at the end. The show wrapped up in 2012. At the end, Abby and Brittany Hensel revealed the big news together. They ended up getting a job!

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Without a doubt, the job search was difficult, given their unique circumstances; however, the show went ahead and explained what the new position was for the girls. They were even finishing each other’s sentences as they talked about the future they would share together.

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The New Job Specializing in Elementary Math

After finishing their training, the twins got a job specializing in elementary school math. Together, they are going to teach separate math classes. They specialize in teaching math at the fourth and fifth-grade levels. Furthermore, the position they have taken is part-time.

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This means that they will have an opportunity to transition into their new roles together. Teaching is a challenging position for anyone. It may be more difficult for conjoined twins, and the twins are going to face these challenges as one.

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Their Mother Reflects on Their Decisions

Every kid has dreams and plays pretend when they are little. The twins’ mother reflected on their path to their current professions. When they were younger, the twins used to pretend that they wanted to be a pilot and a dentist.

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Ultimately, it turns out that this was relatively short-lived. Even though parents want to foster the dreams of their children, it turns out that Abby and Brittany have made the right career move for them and their futures.

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Abby and Brittany Hensel Embark on Their Future Journeys

Now, Abby and Brittany are excited to start their new journeys together, as they are going to impact the lives of children everywhere. Of course, their boss did have to call HR to discuss the hiring situation with them!

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It turns out the twins are going to split the salary of the part-time position together. Without a doubt, any child who is lucky enough to end up in one of their classes is going to learn not only math but life skills as well!

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Why Were the Twins Never Separated?

Due to Abby and Brittany’s shared vital organs (such as an enlarged liver, a bladder, a diaphragm, both reproductive and digestive systems, and intestines) as well as they fact that each twin controls one arm and one leg, separating them would be extremely difficult and dangerous.

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Due to the risks, Abby and Brittany’s parents decided that it would be best to not risk the twin’s lives, but have them live the lives they were born into.

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Separation of Conjoined Twins Is Possible

In 2020, two conjoined twins entered the world. In 2021, the two twins, named Addison and Lilianna Altobelli were surgically separated. They were 10-months-old at the time of the separation.

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The two girls were joined at the abdomen and chest. They also shared a liver, diaphragm, chest, and abdominal wall. They were good candidates for separation because they had two separate and healthy hearts and a large enough liver to divide between them.

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A Shocking Ultrasound

Parents Maggie and Dom Altobelli learned that they were having conjoined twins at a 20-week ultrasound appointment. According to Maggie, they were trying to figure out the gender of one of the babies, but it became more complicated as the minutes passed by.

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Courtesy Altobelli family

Maggie called it an “out of body experience” as she and her husband became more and more enlightened about the situation, as the doctors noticed that the twins had one stomach.

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Welcome to the World

The girls were born at Children’s Hospital on November 18, 2020 in the Newborn/Infant Intensive Care Unit. From there they were transferred to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit to prepare for their impending surgery.

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Thanks to the miracles of modern science, the girls’ surgery was already mapped out, and the doctors could therefore enter very well prepared. Skin expanders were inserted to prepare Addison and Lilianna for their surgery. 

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A Year to Prepare

Nearly an entire year since the girls entered the world, they were separated from each other successfully on October 13th, 2021. The operation took a total of 10 hours to complete.

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The twin’s parents described the moment they saw their girls unattached from each other for the first time as “amazing” and “indescribable.” Of course, the entire experience from start to finish is so difficult to imagine, these words seem befitting enough.

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Returning Home

After the surgery, Maggie and Dom flew back to their home in Chicago, Illinois. Each parent traveled with a twin, respectively. Once the twins returned home, they spent another two weeks at the Lurie Children’s Hospital.

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To continue the trend of being miraculous, the girls were able to be discharged right before the holidays to be with their beaming and overjoyed parents.

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An Unbreakable Connection

Though Lilianna and Addison have been surgically removed from each other, it doesn’t change the fact that they were sharing blood streams and bodies since the time they were inside their mother’s womb.

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Unsurprisingly, the girls still like to be incredibly close when they are together. The girls both need breathing tubes to sustain themselves for now to help with oxygen levels, but they are thriving. 

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Nothing But Gratitude

While the circumstances thrust upon their family were great, Maggie and Dom were able to overcome it. Maggie said, “This is our journey. It’s a very special one in many ways.”

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“These girls are going to live long, healthy lives. It’s pretty miraculous and unbelievable that we are living this life.” There is no doubt that the prosperous attitude of Maggie and Dom helped and will continue to help the twins lead incredible lives.

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How Often Do Conjoined Twins Happen?

Conjoined twins happen once in every 50,000 to 200,000 births according to a peer-reviewed study in the National Center for Biotechnology Information.

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Sadly, around 60% of conjoined twin pregnancies end in stillbirth (the death of a baby before delivery). From those that survive, 60% of separated conjoined twins survive after surgery. It truly is miraculous that these twins survived!

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Modern Medicine Has Propelled the World Forward

Once upon a time, conjoined twins were treated horribly, as though they were nothing more than objects to be stared at. Chang and Eng Bunker were Siamese-American conjoined twin brothers. Their fame propelled the expression “Siamese twins” to become synonymous with conjoined twins.

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The twins were exhibited as curiosities and “two of the nineteenth century’s most studied human beings.” It is thanks to modern medicine and the continued study of such phenomena that future conjoined twins will have their shot at leading separate lives.

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