A five-hour operation was performed on Knatalye Hope and Adeline Faith Mata born April 11 at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women. The twins were born conjoined at the chest and abdomen, where surgeons had to implant made to order customized tissue expanders. These devices will help separating the twins during a follow-up operation in the early part of next year.
Dr. Larry Hollier and Dr. Ed Buchanan, both plastic surgeons, undertook the surgery which is expected to heal in one and a half to two months.
Fluid will be added to the tissue expanders during the period of recovery to help stretch their skin gently until such a time when the twins are ready for their operation. The additional skin will also be very useful to cover the areas to be operated on.
“We are pleased the babies did so well during this surgery, and a multidisciplinary team continues to monitor them in our neonatal intensive care unit as they recover,” said Hollier, chief of plastic surgery at Texas Children’s and chief of the plastic surgery division at Baylor College of Medicine.
The twins share a chest wall, lungs, heart lining, diaphragm, liver, intestines, and pelvis while having one chest wall, heart lining, kidney, diaphragm, intestine, pelvis, and liver.
Darrell Cass, pediatric surgeon at Texas Children’s said the hospital has been making the necessary preparations for several months already.
The preparations included a simulated surgery using a 3D model of the organs. They have even built a swing for the baby to be in a standing position to relieve pressure on the incisions during the surgery.
Performing the separation surgery will be two teams of surgeons.
At the time they were born, the twins weighed 3 pounds and 7 ounces each. A caesarian section was done to deliver them. They now weigh 16 pounds each. The parents, Elysse and John Mata has another kid, a 5-year-old son, Azariah.
“We are so thankful for the support, thoughts and prayers for our girls as they continue to grow, recover and prepare for the next step in their journey,” Elysse Mata said in a statement released by the hospital.