Conjoined twins were separated today after a grueling and delicate surgery that took place at Driscoll Children’s Hospital in Corpus Christi.
The twins, sisters Ximena and Scarlett Hernandez-Torres, were born as part of an identical triplet set on May 16. Among other critical organs, they shared lower intestines and kidneys.
The surgery involved 50 to 60 medical professionals, which included a team of nine surgeons, 10 nurses, and eight anesthesiologists. It called for specialty physicians from pediatric surgery, plastic surgery, urology, and orthopedics.
The “marathon” surgery began at 9 a.m. this morning.
By 11 a.m., doctors had completed a kidney separation procedure, the Corpus Christi Caller Times reported.
The twins were then moved to separate rooms around 11:45. There, reconstructive surgery took place on each child, with the doctors closing incisions using medically-expanded skin.
Around 1:45 p.m., their mother Silvia Torres told kristv that things were progressing well, with the twins hardly losing any blood and already adapting physically to the separation.
“It’s a miracle.”
Scarlet was out of reconstructive surgery around 6:30 p.m., with her sister following around 90 minutes thereafter. From start to finish, the surgery took around 11 hours.
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The parents offered this prayer on social media.
“To my tiny little fighters, whatever happens you have been an example to us that we should never surrender and always keep fighting.”
The twins spent their first post-surgery hours under close surveillance, sleeping in separate beds for the first time in their lives. Silvia Torres expressed her gratitude on Facebook.
“God is awesome. He has done a lot, and I thank the doctors and nurses for doing a very good job on my baby girls. Feeling anxious to see them already.”
Silvia Torres, 22, had delivered Ximena and Scarlett, and a third daughter, Catalina, in Corpus Christi by cesarean section on May 16. Each girl weighed the same at birth: 4 pounds, 11 ounces.
Conjoined sisters undergo rare separation surgery in Texas… https://t.co/FBIeXpLlSN pic.twitter.com/mNlu4bAl7T
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Both parents had been told ahead of time that they were having triplets, and that two of them were conjoined, according to local news KHOU. The babies’ father, Raul Torres, said they were taking it all in stride.
“We don’t care if they are conjoined or not. That’s something God sent us, and we are going to do our best for this.”
When Ximena and Scarlett were born, they were attached at the pelvis. The twins shared a rectum, an umbilical cord, bladders, and intestines, and were connected by what doctors called a “skin bridge.”
The hospital staff had cared for the twins since they were born. Dr. Miguel DeLeon, Medical Director of the Intensive Care Unit, said they have been carefully monitoring the babies’ development.
“Ten months that we’ve been with them, we have seen them growing and we have done so much work and preparation so that we don’t miss any detail.”
Dr. Haroon Patel, head of the team of pediatric surgeons, said that he is optimistic.
“I think that with all of the precautions that we are taking, that we’re giving these twins the maximum chance for a positive outcome.”
The twins will likely need additional surgeries as they grow. Their sister, Catalina, has no health issues.
University of Maryland Medical Center said that the occurrence of conjoined twins happens once every 200,000 births. About 70 percent of conjoined twins are female. The overall survival rate of conjoined twins is somewhere between 5 percent and 25 percent.
Prognosis for Ximena and Scarlett looks good. As of 9:38 p.m., both girls were sleeping and doing great.
[Image via Kirayonak Yuliya/Shutterstock]