San Francisco, Nov 2 (): Two-year-old twin girls who were joined at the chest and abdomen successfully underwent a 10-hour separation surgery on Tuesday at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford.
Angelica and Angelina Sabuco, conjoined two-year-old girls were born in Philippines; their independence were done by a team of more than 40 people. “We are very pleased,” said one of the surgeons, Dr. Gary Hartman, according to the hospital. “It could not have gone better.”
By mid-afternoon, the girls had moved to their own operating rooms at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital for the surgery. After the surgery, they were moved to the intensive care unit, each with a scar stretching from her chest to her belly.
“This is a dream come true,” their mother, Ginady Sabuco, said through tears to reporters after the surgery was complete. “Words cannot express how the family feels.”
It was surgeon Gary Hartman’s sixth operation on conjoined twins. The most recent set of twins separated at the hospital were Yurelia and Fiorella Rocha-Arias of Costa Rica in November 2007.
“Once they’re healed, one would really expect them to be able to lead healthy lives,” he said.
The girls, classified by doctors as thoraco-omphalopagus twins, were born joined at the chest and abdomen with fused livers, diaphragms, breast bones and abdominal walls. They have separate hearts, brains, kidneys, stomachs and intestines. Hartman said the liver and all other shared tissues were essentially divided equally between the two sisters.
While the hospital would not discuss the cost of the surgery, they said part of the expenses was paid for by the family’s medical insurance.
Once the girls are back home, Sabuco looks forward to their being two very ordinary twin sisters. “Angelica is more talkative and Angelina is a silent type,” Sabuco told the hospital before the surgery. “The girls love to play ‘mommy and baby’ with each other and listen to stories and music.”
The children were being kept sedated and doctors said they could be awakened as early as Wednesday. They were expected to be in the hospital for at least two weeks.