Performing surgery on a child is hard for any doctor, however performing a 10-hour surgery to separate 2 conjoined twins who are just 10 months old is a lot more complicated, stated the Dean of Children`s Hospital in Philadelphia. Lilianna and Addison were born as conjoined twins who shared a standard chest, diaphragm, liver and abdomen.
Maggie Altobelli and her husband Dom stated that they got to know they would be having a conjoined twin when they went in for their ultrasound when Maggie was 20 weeks pregnant. Maggie stated that it was hard for her to digest the fact that they would be sharing the same organs and it scared her a lot of imagining the health of their babies.
10 Hour Surgery To Separate Conjoined Twins
Doctors at the early stage stated that they can operate on the babies only when they are fit for the surgery and usually after 6 months. Paediatric doctors at the hospital ran many tests on the twins and determined that it is safe to separate both the girls as both had a separate heart, and the liver was big enough to be shared with each twin.
On Nov 18, 2020, the twins were born and since then, they were kept in the Infant Intensive Care Unit after 4 months, they were transferred to Paediatric Intensive Care Unit so that they could work on their skin as more skin would be needed when the separation is done. Artificial skin has been developed with the help of dermatologists so that there were no rashes or anything for the babies.
The surgery to separate the twins took place on Oct 13, 2021, and it took the doctors and surgeons nearly 10 hours to accomplish this task. The surgery was successful and both the twins were in perfect health as per the statements by Children`s hospital. The parents – Maggie Altobelli and Dom Altobelli, stated that it is now easy to pick up their girls as they have less weight as compared to their previous weight.
Doctors have advised the parents to keep the children in hospital for 2 more weeks after surgery to see if there are any issues with either of them as they had to cut the liver and stomach lining in half. The doctors stated that the twins will have to use breathing tubes until the body is used to this new normal.
Maggie stated that this is the first holiday that the girls are going to spend separately and are going to sleep on different beds. Both the twins, who were together for more than a period of 10 months are now adjusting to living their separate lives. As per reports, conjoined twins happen once in 200,000 births.
The report states that 60% of the conjoined twins are stillborn, which shatters the parents, and among the remaining ones, only a few are healthy enough to go through the separation process.
Dom Altobelli states that he now sees his daughters smiling more often and can do what each of them wants. The children have been advised not to take in any high physical activities as their body still needs time to grow with their separation.
Doctors have created a strict diet plan for both the kids which are to be followed and is high in nutrition and other essential proteins. Once in a month’s time, the kids are to visit a local paediatric doctor and have a check-up to see if their heart and lungs are performing as they should. If the parents observe any issues, they should immediately reach out to a medical professional.