| 19 April 2024, Friday |

Conjoined twins separated in ‘historic’ 11-hour surgery at Texas hospital

Two conjoined twins have been separated during a historic surgery at a Texas hospital that lasted for 11 hours.

The Cook Children’s Medical Center said in a press release that the hospital “performed its first-ever separation surgery for conjoined twin sisters AmieLynn Rose and JamieLynn Rae Finley of Fort Worth, Texas”.

The surgery took place on Monday and included the work of 25 members of staff, including six surgeons.

“While still very early, both AmieLynn and JamieLynn are recovering well,” the hospital said.

Estimated to occur in about one out of every 200,000 live births, conjoined twins are rare, the hospital noted, adding that only between five and eight conjoined twins around the world live past the initial few days.

The Texas twins were omphalopagus, meaning that they were “joined at the abdomen and share one or more internal organs”.

JamieLynn and AmieLynn “were joined from the lower part of the breastbone to their bellybutton and shared a liver,” the hospital said.

They were born prematurely on 3 October last year at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital.

The planning for the surgery lasted months and included studying scans, building models, preparing possible solutions, and rehearsing procedures.

They went through “multiple simulations of the separation surgery and prepared for multiple foreseeable scenarios and outcomes,” the hospital said.

Neonatologist Dr Mary Frances Lynch said in a statement that “at this stage in AmieLynn and JamieLynn’s growth and development, this was the right time for them to have the surgery”.

“Separation now will benefit AmieLynn and JamieLynn by allowing them [to] continue reaching important growth and development milestones in their individual health journeys,” she added.

On the day the surgery took place, there were a large number of medical staff on hand, including three anesthesiologists, four pediatric surgeons, two plastic surgeons, and 18 other staffers.

“They were separated into two teams, one for each girl. Those in purple scrub hats were on JamieLynn’s team, while Team AmieLynn wore green scrub hats, and all items associated with their surgery the twins’ care was color-coordinated accordingly, even the girls’ nails were painted in coordinating colors. Everyone worked together until the babies were separate, then each team focused solely on their assigned baby,” the hospital said.

When learning that her twins were conjoined, mother Amanda Arciniega said, “we were like thinking, ‘why us?’”

Lead surgeon Dr José Iglesias said “we are very happy with their progress at this point,” according to CBS News.

“We are focusing on their healing. They obviously have risks for several things but we’re keeping an eye on those,” he added. “They’re going to grow up into the little girls that they’re supposed to be – independent and feisty, like they’ve already shown us.”

  • Independent