Thursday 27 July 2017

Parents' delight as twins conjoined at the head are separated - 'It's going to be a big party'

Erin and Abby Delaney before their operation
Erin and Abby Delaney before their operation

Kathy Armstrong

Twin baby girls who were conjoined at the head were safely separated during a gruelling 11-hour surgery last week.

Ten-month-old Erin and Abby Delaney were joined at the head - a condition called craniopagus - and shared blood vessels and protective membrane.

On June 7 30 medics at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia operated on the tots, separating them and then carrying out careful reconstruction surgery on their heads.

Plastic surgeon Dr Jesse Taylor and neurosurgeon Dr Gregory Heuer led the team.

Dr Taylor said: "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 Heur also  told CBS NEWS about how complex the procedure is.

Heather and Riley with their daughters
Heather and Riley with their daughters

He said: "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."

Erin and Abby are being monitored as they recover in the hospital's Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.

Their parents Heather and Riley, who are from North Carolina, found out the girls were conjoined eleven weeks into the pregnancy.

They were born by C-section ten weeks early on July 24 2016, weighing just two pounds and one ounce.

They're likely to need more surgeries in the future and delighted mum Heather said she can't wait to finally bring her babies home later this year.

She said: "When we go home, it's going to be a big party, welcome home, baby shower, first birthday."

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