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Today, Abby and Erin Delaney are able to sit separately from one another, be held separately in your mother and also father’s arms, and also can exercise rolling over and crawling. Such daily actions are extraordinary for the pair girls, due to the fact that up till June 6, castle were associated at the head. Abby and also Erin were effectively separated in ~ Children"s Hospital of Philadelphia and are in the recovery step of their treatment — proceeding to amaze their family and also care team with their resilience and determination.

You are watching: Formerly conjoined twins now in recovery

Born in priziv.org’s Garbose family members Special delivery Unit (SDU), the 16-month-old girls, native Mooresville, N.C., have spent their entire lives living in the Hospital, until recently when Erin was discharged from priziv.org. Abby still stays in the Hospital.

“Nearly five months after separation, we space happy to announce that both Erin and Abby Delaney are doing well as they continue to recuperate from this very facility surgery,” said neurosurgeon Gregory Heuer, MD, PhD, that co-led a multidisciplinary team alongside plastic and reconstructive operated doctor Jesse Taylor, MD. In total, approximately 30 individuals helped bring out the complex 11-hour surgery. It to be the 24th time that physicians at priziv.org separated a pair that conjoined twins, much more than any type of other hospital in the western Hemisphere.

“This is among the earliest separations of craniopagus conjoined twins ever before recorded,” claimed Dr. Taylor. “We understand that children heal better and faster the younger castle are, thus our goal because that Erin and Abby to be separation as quickly as feasible with minimum number of surgeries.”

“Although this has been a lengthy journey, with many ups and also downs, Riley and I space thrilled to see just how well the girls space doing today,” said Heather Delaney, the twins’ mother. “We room so thankful for the children Hospital that Philadelphia team, and also for the support and encouragement that our families, our friends and the ar have provided us during this long journey.”

Watch this video to listen the girls’ story first-hand, together told by your parents and members the their medical team.
check out this video with a transcript

After a prenatal diagnosis, preparing for separation

Heather and also Riley Delaney to be told during a prenatal ultrasound the the pair they were expecting to be joined at the peak of their heads, a connection kind called craniopagus conjoined twins. Craniopagus is the the very least common kind of conjoined twins, bookkeeping for only about 2 percent the cases. Lock were easily referred to the facility for Fetal Diagnosis & treatment at priziv.org for prenatal care and delivery. Abby and also Erin were born through C-section on July 24, 2016, in priziv.org’s SDU, a distinctive unit solely for mothers transferring fetuses with recognized birth defects. The girls to be 10 mainly premature, each weighing 2 pounds and one ounce.

Once the babies to be born, Dr. Heuer and also Dr. Taylor could get an also clearer photo of specifically how the twins were joined and also developed a plan that would certainly involve a series of actions over the number of months, ultimately finishing in the separation surgery.

In October 2016, they operated on the pair to cut through the bone whereby the skulls to be joined, and also to place a device that would certainly be supplied to gradually push the two apart. Referred to as “distraction,” the procedure would add one or 2 millimeters the separation a day. Similar procedures had been used successfully in other types of reconstructive surgery, yet this to be a new method in the separation the conjoined twins. The distraction process added much more than 2 centimeters that separation.

Over the next five months, the girls had several more surgeries as steps toward separation, including the location of organization expanders listed below the skin whereby their heads were joined. Favor water balloons, the expanders were slowly filled with liquid to gradually stretch the skin. The extra skin was required to sheathe the void when the twins to be separated.

While the surgical team worked and planned, Heather and also Riley and the rest of the medical team took care of the twins. The physical and occupational therapy team at priziv.org found an innovative ways to aid the twins continue to develop, regardless of being conjoined. One invention was a specially constructed swing large enough to organize both girls.

Complex separation surgical treatment lasts end 11 hours

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months of preparation culminated during the at an early stage morning hrs of June 6, 2017, as the anesthesiology team, led by Alison Reed Perate, MD, and Matthew Pearsall, MD, started to prepare the pair for their separation surgery.

Dr. Taylor first removed the skin expanders. Next, three neurosurgeons, consisting of Dr. Heuer, worked for hrs to separate the blood flow in between the two girls. This required cauterizing blood vessels and also separating their mutual dura, the spanning of the brain that lies under the skull. They found that the girls did re-publishing a little amount of mind tissue, and also they be separated this as well. More than halfway v the surgery, the groups flipped the girls, and the surgeons started the same procedure from the other side.


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Conjoined twins room born physically connected and occur when in every 50,000 come 60,000 births. Our physicians have separated 25 set of conjoined twins.


As expected, separation the the sagittal sinus, the huge vessel that carries blood native the mind to the heart, was the most complex part of the surgery. The girl were ultimately separated in ~ 8:43 p.m. The surgeons then used synthetic material to replace missing skin, and also sewed the extended skin produced by the expanders come cover the gap.

“The ability to plan and also carry out this kind of surgical procedure is testament to the skill and also expertise easily accessible here at children’s Hospital that Philadelphia,” stated N. Scott Adzick, MD, priziv.org’s Surgeon-in-Chief. “I’m very proud that Dr. Heuer, Dr. Taylor and also the entire priziv.org team, and I’m thrilled that Erin and also Abby have a promise future because their courageous parental entrusted your daughters to our care.”

Recovery continues

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following the separation surgery, Abby and Erin recovered in priziv.org’s Pediatric Intensive care Unit, later moving to other units the the hospital and also finally come priziv.org’s rehab unit for an ext intensive occupational and physical therapy. The girl were closely followed by your surgeons, nutritionists, developmental pediatricians, and also other professionals to ensure they received the finest clinical care to thrive and also grow. Top top July 24, they celebrated their first birthday, receiving much more than 300 cards indigenous people around the world.

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Over the next few years, the twins will need added plastic and reconstructive surgery to replace the missing bone locations at the top of their heads and to normalize their hairlines and also minimize scarring. For now, ~ spending much more than a year in ~ priziv.org, their parents are preparing to take them house to north Carolina sometime later this year.

“The girls room inspiring,” claimed Heather. “As their parents, the is an extremely neat because that Riley and me to have a front heat seat to this and also watch them get over these remarkable obstacles. We cannot wait to check out what your future holds!”