Texas Children’s Hospital announced this week that conjoined twin girls were separated in a successful surgery on Feb. 17, 2015.
Knatalye Hope and Adeline Faith Mata were born at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women in Houston, Texas on April 11, 2014 at 3:41 a.m. Doctors estimated they weigh 3 pounds, 7 ounces each and were delivered by Caesarean-section at 31 weeks gestation.
Parents, Elysse and John Eric Mata, and their 5-year-old son, Azariah first discovered the mother was carrying twins during a routine ultrasound on Jan. 13, 2014 near their home in Lubbock, Texas. The family was referred to Texas Children’s Fetal Center where they experienced wide-ranging prenatal imaging, multidisciplinary consultation and development of plans to attain a safe delivery and postnatal care.
For 10 months, the twins were cared for by a specialist team in the Level IV neonatal intensive care unit at the hospital. In December 2014, the girls had a five-hour surgery to place custom-made tissue expanders into their chest and abdomen area to helpe to stretch their skin in preparation for the separation surgery.
“A team of more than 26 clinicians including 12 surgeons, six anesthesiologists and eight surgical nurses, among others, worked together to separate the girls who shared a chest wall, lungs, pericardial sac (the lining of the heart), diaphragm, liver, intestines, colon and pelvis,” a news release from the hospital indicated. “During the complex surgery, the team worked for approximately 23 hours on Knatalye and 26 hours on Adeline with the official separation occurring approximately 18 hours into the surgery. Among the surgical subspecialties involved were pediatric surgery, plastic surgery, cardiovascular surgery, urology, liver transplant surgery, orthopedic surgery and pediatric gynecology.”
“This is the first time a separation surgery for thoraco-omphalo-ischiopagus twins with this particular configuration has been successful,” said Dr. Darrell Cass, pediatric surgeon, co-director of Texas Children’s Fetal Center and associate professor of surgery, pediatrics and obstetrics and gynecology at Baylor College of Medicine. “This surgery was not without its challenges with the girls sharing several organ systems. Our team has been preparing for this surgery for months and we’ve done everything from working with our radiology experts to build a 3-D model of their organs, to conducting simulations of the actual separation surgery.”
A multidisciplinary team is currently caring for the girls in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. Doctors expect more surgeries will occur, but for now the twins will continue to recover for a couple of months.
“We are so grateful to all of the surgeons and everyone who cared for our daughters and gave them the incredible chance to live separate lives,” said Elysse Mata, mom of the babies. “We know how much planning and time went into this surgery and we are so blessed to be at a place like Texas Children’s where we have access to the surgeons and caretakers that have made this dream a reality. We also want to express our gratitude to all of the people that have prayed and provided support to our family over the last 10 months.”