CHOP Doctors Separate Conjoined Twins

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This procedure was the 23rd time the hospital has separated conjoined twins in the past 60 years. The parents of US-based conjoined twins recently got the biggest surprise when their girls were successfully separated in a surgery; it came at a time when the girls are just about to celebrate their first birthday. It's the first involving children joined at the top of the head -a condition known as craniopagus, which is the least common type of conjoined twins.

Heather and husband Riley learned they were expecting conjoined twins about 11 weeks into the pregnancy, which allowed them to prepare for the historic surgery months ahead.

During the 19th week of Heather's pregnancy the couple went to CHOP to evaluate if the babies could be separated.

"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 hard portion of the operation", said Heuer.

Twins Erin and Abby Delaney have spent the first 10 months of their lives not being able to look at each other.

Physicians monitoring the twins' vital signs and administering their anesthesia throughout the operation used green and purple tape, one color for each baby, to track their separate progress.

In rare procedure, CHOP surgeons separate twin girls conjoined at the head
Conjoined twins undergo 11-hour-long surgery before birthday

The hospital said the twins will likely have additional surgeries but plan to send them home later this year.

There are also ethical considerations with separation surgery, Cohen said.

A team of about 30 professional doctors made the impossible happen: they carried out a delicate surgery separating conjoined twins.

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

The delicate surgery was carefully orchestrated with half of the 30-member team of doctors, nurses, and other medical staff assigned to Erin, and the other half to Abby, according to CBS News. The hospital declined to disclose the family's hometown. The medical team worked essentially on one body - and then once the twin girls were separated - the team split to care for two.

Surgeons at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) completed the girls' separation on June 6.

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