The Delaney twins who were born conjoined have made a record of being the earliest separated conjoined twins.
Also interesting in their case is that they survived the separation surgeries which are considered the rarest in surgical history.
The babies’ parents, Heather and her husband, Riley, were informed at 11 weeks of pregnancy that the ultra-sound shows the babies have some defects.
On July 24, 2016, Abby and Erin Delaney were delivered prematurely by C-section. A year later, about 30 doctors, nurses and other medical personnel worked for 11 hours to separate them.
The major aim of the surgery is to untangle blood vessels and separate the brain’s outermost membrane and the sagittal sinus, which carries blood to the heart.
As at the time of the surgery, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia stated that it had separated 22 other pairs of conjoined twins over the past 60 years. The case of the Delaney twins was the first time the hospital would separate a pair of craniopagus twins.
Craniopagus twins are conjoined twins that are fused at the cranium- the part of the skull that covers the brain. It occurs in about 10 – 20 babies in every million births in the United States.
Conjoined twins are identical twins whose embryo fails to split completely. This condition is uncommon; with the craniopagus cases being the rarest form and accounting for about 2% of all conjoined twins.
According to the experts who attended to the babies, the separation of the Delaney conjoined twins would be the earliest separations of craniopagus conjoined twins in history.
It is advised that conjoined twins are separated as early as possible as the older they get will make the separation surgeries more complicated.
Jesse Taylor, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, said this in a statement.
“This is one of the earliest separations of craniopagus conjoined twins ever recorded,”
“We know that children heal better and faster the younger they are, therefore our goal for Erin and Abby was separation as soon as possible with minimum number of surgeries.”
So far the 15 month old baby girls are doing well. However they will still need some other surgeries in the coming years to replace the missing bone on top of their heads and also help to mend their hairlines.
Heather Delaney, the babies’ mother recalled the misery of having both children undergo such a delicate procedure.
“Feeling helpless was the new normal, and I hated it.”
“The worst part is everyone keeps asking if you are ok. That’s when you know things aren’t good.”
Nevertheless, the relieved and happy mother is grateful for the help and support of all who shared in their tension.
“We are so grateful for the Children’s hospital of Philadelphia team, and for the support and encouragement that our families, friends and community have given us during this long journey.”