HOUSTON — Conjoined identical twin girls joined at the chest and abdomen were successfully separated last month by doctors at a Texas hospital.
A team of nearly 75 surgeons, anesthesiologists, cardiologists and nurses performed the seven hour procedure on 13-month-old Anna Grace and Hope Elizabeth Richards on Jan. 13, according to officials at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston.
A hospital spokeswoman said Anna and Hope were in good condition Tuesday.
Officials say a routine ultrasound revealed the girls were conjoined. The twins were born premature, at just over 35 weeks, on Dec. 29, 2016, at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women. Their combined weight was 9 pounds, 12 ounces.
The parents, Jill and Michael Richards, from North Texas, temporarily relocated to Houston in order to deliver at Texas Children’s and be close to the girls during their hospital stay.
Delivered via cesarean-section, Anna and Hope were conjoined at their chest and abdomen, through the length of their torso and shared the chest wall, the lining of the heart, diaphragm and liver. In addition, they had a large blood vessel connecting their hearts.
After January’s surgery, each sister was wheeled out of the operating room to recovery, and Jill and Michael Richards finally got to see their daughters in separate beds for the very first time.
“We’ve thought about and prayed for this day for almost two years,” Jill Richards said. “It’s an indescribable feeling to look at our girls in two separate beds.”
The family should be able to head home to North Texas in about a month.
Contributing: The Associated Press