Recently separated conjoined twins getting ready to go home

Erin and Abby Delaney were born joined at the head. They were separated on June 6, 2017, by a 30-member surgical team at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. The surgery took 11 hours. CREDIT: Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

It’s been four months since Abby and Erin Delaney were separated. Doctors at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) say the 15-month-old formerly conjoined twins are doing well but they will need more reconstructive surgery on their skulls, CBS Philadelphia reports.

Their parents, Heather and Riley, who live in North Carolina, came to CHOP during the pregnancy, as soon as they learned she was carrying twins conjoined at the head.

“When the girls were born, they were two pounds, one ounce a piece,” Heather said. “So, they were able to fit in my shirt and do skin-to-skin with them. So they’ve grown a lot.”

Before the surgery, there were months of detailed planning. Doctors knew it was risky. There was a chance they could lose both babies.

“This is scary, and we’re scared, but we can’t let fear limit our ability to operate. We have to do the operation that needs to be done,” said neurosurgeon Dr. Gregory Heuer.

Formerly conjoined twins Erin and Abby Delaney CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL OF PHILADELPHIA

 

Part of the planning involved using tissue expanders to slowly stretch skin that would be needed once the girls were separated.

In June, the twins were finally ready for the separation surgery, with a final goodbye from their parents.

The surgery lasted for 11 hours. After they were separated, there was suddenly a complication with Abby, who had a lot of bleeding.

It was a difficult post-surgical talk with the parents.

“I was really close to losing her,” Dr. Heuer explained. “I worried about her brain swelling.”

There were some scary days, but Abby survived.

Now, Heather can finally play dress-up with her two girls. “They’re such happy, content little girls for what they’ve gone through,” she said. “They’ve never lived outside hospital walls and they’re still happy.”

Erin has been discharged but Abby remains hospitalized. The family is hoping to be able to go home together for Thanksgiving.

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