This is truly amazing! Born conjoined at the head, 10-month-old twin girls were successfully separated by doctors in Philadelphia after a whopping 11-hour surgery! Even crazier, the complicated & dangerous procedure was a 1st for the hospital. You’ll love the family’s inspiring story!
Wow — talk about modern medical marvels! Erin and Abby Delaney, 10-month-old twins from North Carolina, can finally sleep in separate beds! After all, the infants, who were born with an extremely rare condition that left them connected at the head, successfully underwent an 11-hour separation surgery on June 6 at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania. But while the girls are recovering well, they’ll need to undergo more surgeries and will most likely remain in the hospital for most of the year. On top of that, the surgery was anything but easy!
“Separating conjoined twins is a very complex surgery followed by a long and complicated recovery, but we are very hopeful for a positive outcome,” Jesse Taylor, a plastic surgeon who co-led the operation with neurosurgeon Gregory Heuer, said on June 13 in a statement from the hospital. “Erin and Abby are now recovering in our Pediatric Intensive Care Unit under close monitoring by our expert teams.” For some background on Abby and Erin’s condition, conjoined twins only occur once in about every 200,000 births, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. However, while conjoined twins are rare on their own, only about two percent of conjoined twins are craniopagus twins, which means they’re connected by the head. Even scarier? Most craniopagus twins do not survive.
Beating the odds, the girls went under the knife under the supervision of 30 doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel. And while the hospital has separated 22 other pairs of conjoined twins over the past 60 years, they’ve never separated a pair of craniopagus twins. “During the separation surgery, our team first meticulously separated the infants’ shared blood vessels and dura, the tough protective membrane surrounding both brains, then moved on to separate the sagittal sinus, the most difficult portion of the operation,” Dr. Heuer, the neurosurgeon, said in the statement. “Finally, we divided our team into two halves, one for each of the girls, and finished the reconstruction portion of the surgery.”
In Erin and Abby’s case, the procedure was a success! But their team of doctors noted that “success” simply means the surgeons were able to separate the twins — “in terms of the long-term prognosis, it’s usually a long road ahead for the family and the medical team caring for them,” Dr. Cohen said. However, the team remains optimistic! The night before the Delaney girls’ surgery, a Facebook post was shared with the followers of a page that was set up for them. “The girls have a big procedure tomorrow,” the post read. “We ask for as many prayers as you can spare. It will be a long day for us.”
However, through it all, Erin and Abby’s parents, Heather and Riley Delaney, have remained positive, handling every step with grace. Despite the girls needing even more surgeries down the road, Heather knows a bright light is up ahead. “When we go home, it’s going to be a big party,” Heather said in a the statement from the hospital. “Welcome home, baby shower, first birthday.” Aw!
Tell us, HollywoodLifers — what do you think of this miraculous surgery? Pretty amazing, right?