CHOP Doctors Separate Conjoined Twins

Conjoined twin girls separated by CHOP surgeons

Erin and Abby are recovering in the hospital's Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and being closely monitored. Conjoined twins are a rarity and the statistics for their survival is quite dismal.

Craniopagus occurs in about 10-20 babies in every million births in the United States, reports state, accounting for just 2 percent of conjoined twins, most of whom are female and stillborn. Of these only 2% are craniopagus say experts.

The severity of the condition depends on how and where the conjoined twins are connected. In the surgery's second stage, the team of doctors were divided into two. Conjoined twins also sometimes share one or more internal organs.

Erin and Abby, who are from North Carolina, were in excellent care.

The girls were delivered by C-section on July 24; each weighed two pounds and one ounce.

Doctors there started working on a thorough and meticulous plan to try to separate them.

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The team was co-led by neurosurgeon Gregory Heuer, MD, PhD, and plastic surgeon Jesse Taylor, MD. Both twins may not survive the ordeal and one of the twins may receive poorer blood supplies or tissues compared to other.

Many days later, the messages asked others to "bear with us" and "keep praying for us".

It may be some time before we know the outcome of this surgery in terms of neurological success said the team. They will be followed in the months to come by their team of surgeons, nutritionists, developmental pediatricians and other specialists to ensure that they have the best opportunity for healthy development. This was a first operation of its kind for this hospital.

The 10-month-old twins are from Mooresville and were born with a condition called craniopagus, is the least common type of conjoined twins. Extensive planning went into the surgery with each baby being colour coded green or purple. The blood vessels were removed carefully. A major part of the brain, the saggital sinus was then separated.

The 11-hour surgery on Erin and Abby Delaney took place June 6 at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and announced this week. Additional surgeries for both twins are likely during this process, but Heather and her husband, Riley, are expected to bring the girls back to North Carolina later this year.

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