From Black Voices
Doctors in Virginia made science history on Monday when they successfully completed a first-of-its-kind surgical procedure to separate six-month-old conjoined twin girls.
The 14-hour operation was performed at the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU in Virginia, where the girls are now in stable condition.
A’zhari and A’zhiah Jones of Franklin, Virginia, were born as so-called thoracopagus twins, meaning their bodies were fused at the abdomen and that they had heart abnormalities.
The first stage of the Jones twins’ phased separation began in October 2012, when surgeons divided their shared liver, and then closed the girls’ abdomens back up.
“As the girls became critically ill over the second week of their lives, we had to urgently separate their conjoined liver as this was the source of their uncompensated cross circulation,” Dr. David Lanning, surgeon-in-chief at the children’s hospital, said in a written statement. “However, complete separation at that time would almost assuredly have resulted in their deaths as A’zhari was in renal failure and A’zhiah had severe cardiac hypertrophy. A phased surgery was the optimal plan.”
In February 2013, surgeons placed tissue expanders in the twins’ abdomens, which enabled the growth of excess skin to be used for closure and reconstruction following surgery.
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