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Conjoined twin girls successfully separated in 7-hour surgery

November 09, 2012|By Michael Muskal
  • Conjoined twins Allison June and Amelia Lee Tucker before surgery.
Conjoined twins Allison June and Amelia Lee Tucker before surgery. (Children's Hospital of…)

Surgeons and a 40-member medical team in Philadelphia have successfully completed the separation of 8-month-old twin girls who were joined at the lower chest and abdomen, according to the hospital where the procedure took place.

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia said the seven-hour operations were completed on Wednesday. It was the 21st time surgeons at the hospital had separated a set of conjoined twins. Other hospitals have also reported successful separations.

The twins, Allison June and Amelia Lee Tucker, of Adams, N.Y., shared a chest wall, diaphragm, pericardium and liver, according to a hospital statement.

Led by Dr. Holly L. Hedrick, pediatric general, thoracic and fetal surgeon, a multidisciplinary team of about 40 members, including physicians, nurses and other medical staff from general surgery, plastic and reconstructive surgery, cardiac surgery, anesthesiology, radiology, and neonatology, participated in the separation.

“Like all separations of conjoined twins, this was a very complex surgery, but it went very well and as expected,” said Hedrick, who led the team that worked on the patients. “Allison and Amelia are currently recovering in the Newborn/Infant Intensive Care Unit (N/IICU) and will be monitored closely by CHOP’s expert clinical teams for the duration of their recovery,” she stated.

“We expect that, with this complex surgery behind them, Allison and Amelia will receive the care, therapy and support to allow them to live full, healthy and independent lives,” Hedrick stated.

Conjoined twins occur once in every 50,000 to 60,000 births, and most are stillborn. About three-quarters of such twins are female and are joined at least partially in the chest, sharing organs. Chances of successful surgery and survival are greater if the twins have separate sets of organs, the hospital said.

The Tucker family has not commented. The hospital asked the media to respect the family’s privacy.

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