Conjoined Twin Girls Survive World-First Operation To Separate Them

| by Emily Smith
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Conjoined twins, who were connected at the chest and abdomen, were separated after an operation that was never before completed successfully.

The Texas twins, Knatalye Hope and Adeline Faith Mata, were born to Elysse and John Eric last April. The couple was told that the twin girls would be conjoined before they were born. When the girls were finally born, it was discovered that they shared a chest wall, lungs, lining of the heart, diaphragm, liver, intestines, colon and pelvis.

To prepare for the surgery, which occurred earlier this month, the twins underwent a procedure to place custom-made tissue expanders into their chest and abdomen. Models of the girls’ organs were also made to carry out simulations of the operation before the real procedure was performed.

“Our team has been preparing for this surgery for months and we’ve done everything from working with our radiology experts to build a 3-D model of their organs, to conducting simulations of the actual separation surgery,” Dr. Darrell Cass, a pediatric surgeon, said.

A team of 26 clinicians, 12 surgeons, six anesthesiologists and eight surgical nurses operated on the 10-month-old twins at Texas Children’s Hospital. The surgery took 26 hours.

“We know how much planning and time went into this surgery and we are so blessed to be at a place like Texas Children's where we have access to the surgeons and caretakers that have made this dream a reality,” the twins' mother said.

Elysse added that she can’t thank the surgeons who operated on her daughters enough.

The twins are currently being cared for in the hospital’s pediatric intensive care unit, where they will remain for the next couple of months.

Sources: DailyMail, USA Today / Photo Credit: Allen S. Kramer/Texas Children's Hospital