Erin and Abby Delaney's parents are grateful to their twin daughters are thriving. Born as conjoined twins, their condition was among the rarities of the rare. "They're just growing and changing and amazing little people and I can say they're really my heroes for what they've been through," Heather Delaney told CBS News
The sisters were born in the head, and even rarer, totally fused with their connection deep into the brain tissue. In June 2017, the conjoined twins were completely separated at 10 months old at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
"Around 3 months of age we separated the bone that was connecting the two twins and then we sort of slowly pushed them apart and changed the anatomy which, where the two were connected and then that allowed us to do the separation, "explained Dr. Gregory Heuer of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
A new report published in the New England Journal of Medicine details how doctors used innovative technology and teamwork to perform complex separation surgery. A computer navigational system helped them map the connected blood vessels that needed to be divided between the twins
"The most difficult part for these girls was that they shared some really important large blood vessels so they could separate those and having the brain recover after we did the separation was really the hardest part, "Heuer said.
Now, 2 years old, Erin and Abby are the youngest twins in the head to be successfully separated. receiving physical, occupational, and speech therapy to aid their development. In the next few years, sisters will need additional surgery to close the openings in their skulls
"Some of the things they were doing were never done before, so we did not know how it was going to work out, "Heather Delaney said. "Luckily everything turned out incredible. We have miraculous little girls to show for it."