Conjoined Twins, Ximena and Scarlett Hernandez-Torres are to be separated at Driscoll Children’s Hospital in Corpus Christi. The complex procedure is expected to last anywhere from 12 to 18 hours.
The Driscoll Children's Hospital sent the following press release to FOX 7.
CORPUS CHRISTI – March 28, 2016 – Physicians, nurses, and other medical professionals will be involved in a complex, multi-hour operation at Driscoll Children’s Hospital to separate 10-month-old conjoined twins, Ximena and Scarlett Hernandez-Torres. The surgery is scheduled to begin the morning of April 12, 2016.
Born May 16, 2015, the babies are fused below the waist and share a colon and bladders that will be reconstructed. Their identical triplet sister, Catalina, was born without serious health issues. The separation procedure will be a first for Driscoll Children’s Hospital, where the twins have received care since being transferred to the facility hours after they were born.
“A dedicated team of specialists has been working for months to prepare for this complex surgery,” said pediatric surgeon Haroon Patel, M.D., who heads up the team undertaking the marathon procedure, which could last 12 to 18 hours. “This is an extremely challenging operation, but we look forward to a successful outcome.”
Specialty physicians from pediatric surgery, plastic surgery, urology, and orthopedics will perform the surgery. The team is using a variety of innovative technologies to assist in the surgery. A 3-D CT scan and MRI were joined to virtually represent the twins on a computer screen, allowing surgeons to conduct a virtual surgery on screen to simulate the procedure. From this virtual simulation, a 3-D model of the twins’ anatomy has been created that surgeons use as a reference before and during the operation.
In addition, the team will employ a new technology in pediatric patients, the Image Perfusion Scanner. The scanner, or “Spy Camera,” assesses blood flow in areas where physicians are operating and provides critical information to assist surgeons in determining where to divide skin and organs. Driscoll Children’s Hospital is an innovator in using this technology for the first time as part of a procedure to separate conjoined twins.
The separation surgery is just the first step in the sisters’ journey, but the girls are stable and growing, and physicians have a positive outlook for their recovery.
“The babies have been doing very well as we’ve focused on getting them healthy for this complex procedure,” said Miguel DeLeon, M.D., medical director of Driscoll’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). “Each member of our team has a well-defined role, and our ultimate goal is to give these two girls the opportunity to live healthy, normal lives.”
Ximena and Scarlett will stay in Driscoll’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) following the surgery. Physicians say the twins will require additional surgeries as they grow.
While conjoined twins are born in 1 of every 200,000 births, specialists said the chance of a triplet birth involving conjoined twins is 1 in 50 million.
ABOUT DRISCOLL CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL
Driscoll Children’s Hospital is a 189-bed pediatric tertiary care center with pediatric specialists representing 32 medical and 13 surgical specialties offering care throughout South Texas, including Corpus Christi, the Rio Grande Valley, Victoria, and Laredo. In 2015, Driscoll had more than 159,000 patient visits, including nearly 40,000 patients seen at South Texas’ first emergency room created specifically for pediatrics.
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