Surgeons at Kosair Children’s Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky, have successfully separated these conjoined twins. (Photo: Facebook/Kosair Children’s Hospital)
When the twin girls were born at Norton Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky, they were connected at the chest and abdomen, sharing a chamber of the heart and connected livers.
At only seven weeks old, the pair underwent an eight-hour surgery at Kosair Children’s Hospital in Louisville to separate the babies, the hospital announced today (Nov. 19).
The girls are currently in the hospital’s critical care center, breathing with the help of ventilators but “getting stronger by the day,” according to a press release.
“God was definitely watching over the girls and the medical team on the day of the surgery … We are so thankful to God and everyone at Kosair Children’s Hospital for getting them this far,” the babies’ mother said in the release.
The twins shared a liver and vital heart structures. (Photo: Facebook/Kosair Children’s Hospital)
Since their birth in October, the girls had been staying at Kosair Children’s Hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit. When the twins began to need more help breathing and were not growing properly, medical experts decided it was time to operate.
The surgical team included six University of Louisiana surgeons, a cardiologist, and a cardiological fellow. Plastic surgeons, advanced surgical nurses, and other specialists and technicians from Kosair Children’s Hospital rounded out the team. In total, more than 45 people contributed to the surgery’s planning and execution.
Although the surgery on Nov. 11 was planned to take 12 hours, the team finished in eight. They had performed drills on dolls to prepare for the operation — the first conjoined twin separation surgery at the hospital since 2001.
Surgeons operate on conjoined twins. (Photo: Facebook/Kosair Children’s Hospital)
Experts overseeing the twins’ care are cautiously optimistic. Most sets of conjoined twins are born stillborn or do not survive for more than a day.
So far for the girls, “indicators are favorable for continued improvement,” according to the press release. The medical staff and family were not available for interviews as of press time.
“In any situation where you have so complex a surgery, there is always a long road to recovery,” said Erle H. Austin III, M.D., chief of cardiovascular surgery at Kosair Children’s Hospital and surgeon with University of Louisville Physicians. “We are cautiously optimistic, as one or both may require additional surgeries in the future.”
Donations to Kosair Children’s Hospital can be made through the Children’s Hospital Foundation.
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