July 23, 2017

Philadelphia hospital separates conjoined 10-month-old twins

15 June 2017, 02:15 | Lena Norman

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Conjoined twins from North Carolina are sleeping side-by-side for the first time, following separation at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. However, Abby and Erin would be the hospital's first craniopagus pair. Following months of planning and preparation, the pair underwent a successful 11-hour separation surgery last week at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia in southeastern Pennsylvania, according to the hospital. The condition of conjoined twins at the heads is known as craniopagus.

The 10-month-old girls from North Carolina were born connected at the head, an extremely rare condition.

Surgeons and medical staff developed an intricate plan for separating the twins and on June 7, they carried it out. They were born by C-section on July 24, 2016, 10 weeks premature, each weighing two pounds and one ounce.

"Separating conjoined twins is a very complex surgery followed by a long and complicated recovery, but we are very hopeful for a positive outcome", Dr. Jesse Taylor said in a news release.

The parents, Heather and Riley, got to know about the birth of their conjoined twins when they were just 11 weeks into the pregnancy and took extra care before they were delivered so that the girls could lead a normal life.

Taylor is a plastic surgeon, and along with neurosurgeon Dr. Gregory Heuer, headed the 30-person team made up of doctors from various disciplines, including neurosurgery, plastic and reconstructive surgery, and anesthesiology.

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"Depending on where the heads are joined and how much they are fused, that determines the complexity of the operation", Cohen said. Now, they are in separate beds for the first time in their lives.

The operation was carefully orchestrated by marking the monitors and equipment with blue and purple tape to differentiate between the two girls.

Abby Delaney (right) and Erin at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia in September 2016.

Surgeons first separated the girls' shared blood vessels and the protective membrane protecting their brains, said a hospital spokeswoman.

The parents, Heather and Riley, can not contain their excitement about going home and throwing a big party after the conjoined twins will have fully recovered.

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