Three-month-old conjoined twins were successfully separated in a “historic surgery” at a Texas hospital on Monday.
The operation to separate newborn sisters AmieLynn Rose and JamieLynn Rae Finley at Cook Children’s Medical Center in Texas was the hospital’s first-ever surgery of its kind.
“A team of 25 medical professionals, including 6 surgeons, carefully performed this historic surgery, while parents Amanda Arciniega and James Finley patiently waited for news of their separation,” the hospital said in a Wednesday news release.
“While still very early, both AmieLynn and JamieLynn are recovering well.”
AmieLynn and JamieLynn of Fort Worth were born prematurely Oct. 3 joined from the lower part of the breastbone to their belly button. The two sisters shared a liver.
The fact that the babies survived for their surgery was a miracle itself: Only between five to eight conjoined twins born worldwide each year survive the first few days after birth, the medical center said.
“I wouldn’t have thought in a million years I would be going through something like this,” mother Amanda Arciniega said.
Luckily, the first ultrasound alerted Arciniega and husband James Finley that their daughters would be born connected, allowing the hospital 8 long months to prepare for the monumental surgery.
The Cook Children’s Medical Center team spent five months pre-birth and three-months post-birth studying the girls’ anatomy and sunning through multiple simulations of the separation surgery.
The medical professionals were divided into two groups for each girl: JamieLynn’s team wore purple scrub hats and AmieLynn’s team wore green. Even the girls’ nails were painted to match.
After an 11-hour surgery, the doctors were able to tell Arciniega and Finley the good news.
“You have two babies on two separate beds!” a doctor said, sending the room into cheers and Arciniega into tears.
Both babies had responded well to the intense surgery. AimieLynn didn’t receive as much muscle or skin as her sister, so doctors needed to give her a mesh patch and a temporary closure device, but she and JamieLynn are expected to recover.
“They’re going to have a bit of a ramp up from the recovery, but I think they’re going to be able to get there eventually, and very close to normal if not completely normal,” Dr. Jose L. Iglesias, lead surgeon and Medical Director of Pediatric Surgery at Cook Children’s Medical Center said.
“They’re going to grow up into the little girls that they’re supposed to be: independent and feisty, like they’ve already shown us.”
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