A team of doctors from the Texas Children's Hospital has successfully separated conjoined identical twins Hope Elizabeth Richards and Anna Grace on Jan. 13.
The team comprised of nearly 75 doctors and nurses from eight specialty departments who performed the seven-hour-long operation.
A Successful Surgery
The chief of plastic surgery and surgeon-in-chief at the hospital Dr. Larry Hollier said that the incredibly complex surgery's positive outcome was due to the dedication and hard work of the team throughout 2017. They were able to prepare for circumstances that could come up during the separation through countless planning meetings and simulation.
Hope and Anna also went through surgery to get tissue expanders placed to enable their skin to stretch and grow as a preparatory step for the separation.
Hollier also said that the team was thrilled with the surgery's success and looked toward the extended care for Hope and Anna during their recovery period.
The girls' mother, Jill Richards, said that the family has prayed for this day and thought about it for almost two years.
She also added that it is an indescribable feeling to see the twins in two different beds and that they were thankful to the whole team for realizing their dream.
Hope And Anna
The twins were born at Texas Children's Pavilion for Women on Dec. 29, 2016. They weighed 9 pounds 12 ounces during the time of birth. They were delivered by Caesarean section at 35 weeks. The girls shared a chest wall and were conjoined through the length of their torso, chest, and abdomen. Moreover, their hearts were connected through a large blood vessel.
The Richards family live in North Texas. They got to know that Jill was carrying conjoined twins during a regular ultrasound and were referred to Texas Children’s Fetal Center. They went through extensive development plans, consultation, and prenatal imaging to have a safe birthing and postnatal care. The family located in Houston temporarily to give birth at Texas Children's Hospital and be near to the twins during their stay at the hospital.
"These are the kinds of procedures you plan for the worst and hope for the best and we were very blessed that this was the best case-scenario," said Dr. Oluyinka Olutoye, a pediatric surgeon at Texas Children's Hospital. "Everything we had rehearsed, everything we had planned, everything we had simulated … everything went as well as we could have hoped."