Human Interest

Conjoined twins successfully separated in ‘historic’ surgery

conjoined twins

A Texas hospital announced last week that it successfully separated a pair of conjoined twins on January 23, after an 11-hour surgery.

AmieLynn Rose and JamieLynn Rae Finley are both recovering after their surgery, which took place at Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas. The girls were born prematurely on October 3, 2022, and were connected at the abdomen and shared a single liver, a condition known as omphalopagus twins. Though the National Institute of Health suggests that omphalopagus twins have the best chance at successful separation, it also notes that only 25% of conjoined twins survive long enough to attempt separation surgery.

“As far as conjoined twins that reach and stay viable after birth, at least for the first few days, there’s really only about five to eight of those per year on the entire planet, so it is very rare,” explained Dr. Jose Iglesias, M.D., Cook Children’s medical director of pediatric surgery.

Doctors at Cook Children’s had never before separated conjoined twins, and they set out to determine the best way to treat the little girls — a process that took months of preparation. Altogether, 25 medical professionals, including six surgeons, played a role in the intricate surgical procedure.

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“The separation surgery will give AmieLynn and JamieLynn better opportunities to improve their health and development, and to grow as the unique, individual little girls that they have been since birth, regardless of their physical connection as conjoined twins,” Dr. Iglesias said.”Our team at Cook Children’s was honored to bring together our collective expertise in treating high-risk infants and conducting complex surgery to help AmieLynn and JamieLynn reach this incredible milestone.”

The medical team and hospital staff hosted a news conference following the surgery to announce their success.

“This is a historic, amazing day,” said Wini King, senior vice president and chief of communications, diversity, equity, and inclusion for the Cook Children’s Health Care System, at a news conference held on Wednesday.

“This is a magical moment for Cook Children’s,” added Rick Merrill, the president and CEO of the hospital.

While the twins still have a long road ahead of them, they are recovering and doing well. “We are very happy with their progress at this point,” said Dr. Iglesias.”We are focusing on their healing. They obviously have risks for several things but we’re keeping an eye on those.”

“I’m very hopeful that they’re going to have a good recovery and lead healthy lives in the future,” he added. “They’re going to have a bit of a ramp up from the recovery, but I think they’re going to be able to get there eventually, and very close to normal if not completely normal.”

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