Abby and Brittany Hensel: A Conjoined Twins

Patty Hensel, a licensed nurse, and Mike Hensel, a carpenter and landscaper, welcomed twins to the world in Carver County, Minnesota. A younger brother and sister live with them.
American conjoined twins Brittany Lee Hensel and Abigail Loraine Hensel were born on March 7, 1990. They are remarkably symmetrical for conjoined twins, providing the appearance of having a single body without significantly deviating from standard dimensions.

When the girls were born, the girls’ parents were informed by the doctors that they could need to be separated. The operation was found to have greater hazards at that time than possible benefits. There were already numerous health issues due to the high infant mortality rate of conjoined twins.
The parents of the twins came to the conclusion that a separation operation wasn’t required and wouldn’t help the kids after carefully weighing all of the hazards involved. Even while they can still choose to separate as adults, there are still hazards involved. The ladies will always have the choice, but they are not giving it any thought.
They had surgery soon after Abby and Brittany were born. A third arm was sprouting near each of their heads when they were born. They were able to amputate the limb. The two have since developed into beautiful, healthy, and content ladies.

Life magazine and The Oprah Winfrey Show are just two examples of the popular media outlets that have written about the twins’ lives. In a December 2006 interview with The Learning Channel, they talked about their daily routines and aspirations. In 2012, they appeared in their own reality television show, Abby & Brittany, which aired on TLC.
You might not be familiar with the names Abby and Brittany Hensel at first, but as soon as you see their photo. The most well-known conjoined twins in the world, Abby and Brittany were the subject of their own successful TLC reality show.

Despite the twins being adored by everyone, their show was only broadcast for one season. The women have continued to have amazing lives and have overcome even more barriers since that time.
Their Body’s organs
Abby and Brittany each have their own sets of internal organs. This calls for a lot of shared decision-making, and one of these challenging decisions was deciding what they wanted to accomplish with their life.
While the majority of the organs at and below the navel are shared, the spinal cord is the only one that is unique to the twins.

The twins have separate organs in the upper section of their bodies.
Two heads
Two spines that merge at the coccyx and are connected at the thorax by rib segments Scoliosis was treated surgically.
There are two distinct spinal cords.
Two arms (originally three, but the primitive central arm was removed, leaving the central shoulder blade in place) (originally three, but the rudimentary central arm was removed, leaving the central shoulder blade in place)
One wide ribcage with two sternums that are tightly fused together and several bridging ribs. The pleural cavities were enlarged during surgery.
breasts two
two hearts sharing a circulation system (nutrition, respiration, and medicine taken by either affects both)
Four lungs, three pleural cavities, and considerable medial lung fusion excluding Brittany’s top right lobe.
One diaphragm has a small central defect and well-coordinated involuntary breathing.
Two tummies
Two bile ducts
One liver, right lobe small intestine shaped like a Y, with somewhat spastic double peristalsis at the junction.
Two small intestines (one colon, rectum, and anus)
Three kidneys, Two left and One right
One bladder
reproductive organs in one set
two distinct half-sacrum that merge laterally.
One somewhat wide pelvis
Two legs

Each twin is in charge of one side of the body they share. Each person’s sense of touch is limited to the portion of her body that is touching; this sense of touch fades away at the midsagittal plane, leaving a slight overlap at the midline. However, only the twin on the opposite side experiences stomach pains.
When they were little, they had to work together to learn how to crawl, walk, and clap. They can both eat and write at the same time. Coordination is needed for tasks like jogging, swimming, brushing your hair, playing the piano or volleyball, riding a bike, or operating a motor vehicle.

When both hands or both legs are needed, they use their limbs in concert. They manage to walk, run, swim, play volleyball and the piano, and ride a bicycle normally by coordinating their efforts. They can both drive a car and type on a keyboard at the same time.  Abby, who is 5 ft 2 in (1.57 m), however, is taller and has longer legs than Brittany, who is 4 ft 10 in (1.47 m) In their 2012 reality series, it was evident that and their different heights made it impossible to balance a Segway.

While Brittany’s head tilts laterally at roughly 15 degrees to the left, making her appear shorter even while seated, Abby’s head tilts laterally outward about 5 degrees to the right. Brittany frequently stands and walks on her toes, which has grown her calf muscle noticeably bigger than Abby’s. Brittany’s leg is over two inches shorter than Abby’s. After Brittany’s growth prematurely ceased, the growth of Abby’s spine was medically stopped. They had surgery at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare when they were 12 years old to repair their scoliosis and to enlarge their chest cavities to prevent respiratory problems.

The sisters originally intended to enroll in two different institutions because they each had a different professional path in mind. They recognized the timetable would be too stressful when they started to make plans for a life spanning two campuses. They had to select a college that would accept both of them.

In 2008, they both graduated from high school and enrolled in Bethel University in Arden Hills, Minnesota, where they both declared education as their major. Within that degree, they had thought about pursuing several concentrations, but the amount of additional coursework was excessive. They were raised in New Germany, Minnesota, went to Mayer Lutheran High School there, and Bethel University in St. Paul, where they received their degrees. The twins earned two Bachelor of Arts degrees in 2012 after four years of diligent study. Although their degrees provided a variety of choices, they had to select one career. The two started teaching in 2013 and as of 2022, they are still doing so at Sunnyside Elementary in New Brighton, Minnesota, where they currently teach fifth grade.

They share a single body even though they are two separate people. Finding a position where they could work in various divisions wasn’t exactly simple, and having two occupations would make for one tremendously long workday.
When the twins were born, their parents decided against trying to surgically separate them after learning that it was improbable that both would survive the procedure. The parents of the twins decided against separation as they matured, learned to walk, and acquired other skills, claiming that the quality of life for the surviving twin or twins living separately would be lower than their quality of life as conjoined humans.

Being adult conjoined twins who are still together and healthy is an accomplishment in and of itself. Being conjoined twins made things even more fascinating for Abby and Brittany because moving away from the support of family and friends, going to college for four years, and graduating with excellent grades are difficult for the normal young adult as well.

The Hensels came back into the public eye after college for a TLC series titled 22 Years Young. Their preparation for college graduation and their post-graduate trip through Europe were both followed in the series. The trip of a lifetime was had by the twins.
Rarely do dicephalic apparatus twins live to adulthood.
Although driving requires coordination between them, the twins passed their written and practical driver’s license exams independently when they were teenagers since state law required that they each have a license. Brittany operates the gadgets on the left side of the driver’s seat, while Abby operates those on the right. They both use the steering wheel together.
A seamstress alters some of the twins’ clothing so that it has two distinct necklines in an effort to highlight their individuality. Usually, they eat separately, but occasionally, for convenience’s sake, they will share one meal. They rarely speak to one another verbally when performing chores like responding to emails since they type and answer together, anticipating one other’s emotions. When they agree, they use the grammatical pronoun “I,” and when they disagree, they use their names.
They dread the thought of strangers observing or photographing them as they go about their private lives. They expressed their want to date, get married, and have kids in interviews they gave to the Discovery Channel in 2006 when they were 16 years old. In addition, many expressed the optimism that by disclosing certain personal information, they would be able to lead generally quite conventional social lives.

On April 8 and April 29, 1996, the twins made an appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show. In the same month, they appeared on the cover of Life with the subtitle “One Body, Two Souls,” and an article titled “The Hensels’ Summer” detailed their daily lives. In September 1998, Life published a second story. They appeared in the 2002 TV documentary Joined for Life by Advanced Medical Productions, which was broadcast on the Discovery Health Channel, as well as the 2003 sequel Joined at Birth.
They were shot in 2001, and an updated version of their story from then was published in Time and again in Life in 2003. “Joined For Life” is another documentary produced by ABC TV.

Abby and Brittany each have their own essential organs, with the exception of their liver and reproductive system. The likelihood of one twin dying or having a significantly lower quality of life than the other if they were separated is high. A single arm and a single leg would be all that remained for each twin.
Nearly three decades of experience have helped Abby and Brittany become adept at accommodating one another and sharing a body. They claim to be content and healthy, therefore they do not see a reason to put their long-term health at danger by choosing to live apart. They might eventually surpass other conjoined twins in age.
The Hensels have undergone less difficult surgeries even though they have opted against having surgery to separate. Their pre-teen years saw one of the biggest operations. Brittany is smaller than Abby, and it’s unlikely that she will ever get taller due to the structure of her bones.

Abby underwent surgery to halt her spine from growing. The doctors did this to prevent the girls’ height disparity from being so extreme that it would interfere with their comfort or ability to move in unison. After the procedure, they quickly bounced back to normal life and healed nicely.
They have mastered the use of their individual limbs in tandem, enabling them to perform tasks that would normally need a non-conjoined person, such as walking, driving, playing sports, and other activities. Their parents have always encouraged them to lead as normal a life as they can.
In order to offer Abby and Brittany a normal existence, the Hensel family sacrificed a lot. They have always been close, and their younger siblings admire them. They were active in sports, and their parents always urged them to pursue their goals without letting their particular condition stand in the way.
The Hensel family is fortunate to live in a period when medical knowledge about the long-term health of conjoined twins is more advanced than ever. The bodily cavity that houses the lungs tends to progressively deteriorate over time, which means that many conjoined twins can experience serious respiratory health issues.

The Hensels underwent surgery to strengthen their respiratory cavities when they were preteens. Though they had previously experienced isolated episodes of pneumonia, they are currently remaining in good health. They will probably live a long and healthy life thanks to their preventative medical intervention.
Despite being tied together, Brittany and Abby are two separate persons. They nonetheless retain their personality in subtle ways. They had their clothing properly adjusted for special occasions so that the necklines can fit evenly at each twin’s neck. It’s more comfortable that way because Brittany is shorter than Abby.
The twins expressed their desire to get married and start their own children in one of their first television specials. They were still only teenagers at the time. The twins have naturally grown more reserved over time when it comes to talking about their romantic relationships in public.
They have made the decision to keep their personal affairs private, and they now endeavour to maintain a far lower profile than they did when they were Oprah’s interview subjects and TLC show stars. They are still open to interviews, but they won’t put up with nosy inquiries any longer.

Both Brittany and Abby possess separate minds as well as unique ideas and emotions. They have, nevertheless, shared every second of their lives together. They are inseparable because they know one other better than anybody else does.
They consequently possess many of the same bizarre skills as non-conjoined twins. They are so familiar with one another, for instance, that they frequently finish each other’s sentences. They are still able to have two independent discussions going at once. When responding to queries from pupils in a classroom, this is extremely helpful.
Paperwork can become a little more challenging than you might anticipate because the twins are treated as two independent individuals under both medical and legal standards. For instance, throughout school, they were individually required to complete their own assignments. They each had to take their own SATs and submit separate college applications.
If Abby and Brittany Hensel ever produce another television special, only time will tell. The twins have an Instagram account, but they haven’t updated it in more than a year. Fans all throughout the world are curious to learn more about their professional life as instructors.

The Hensel twins are probably still defying the odds even though we don’t precisely know what they’re up to these days. They provide as a fantastic illustration of the benefits of tenacity and perseverance. And they are the best teachers any pupils could wish for!


  1. Really great set of decisions taken by their parents at their time of Birth! Looking at the risks involved if something fatal would’ve taken place we wouldn’t be talking about them right now. Hats off!

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