Doctors along with the parents of conjoined twins, Carter and Conner Mirabal, held a news conference Monday at Wolfson Children’s Hospital in Jacksonville, Fla.
According to Dr. Dan Robie, a pediatric surgeon at Nemours Children’s Clinic, the first challenge during surgery for Carter and Conner was the underdeveloped abdominal wall that left the intestines exposed. The twins also share bile ducts that are connected which will be addressed during the final separation surgery, he said.
The twins will be at least six months old when they’re fully separated, however, the medical team is worried Conner is starting to outgrow and pull nutrients away from Carter. This may force an earlier second surgery, Robie said.
The twins are not eating on their own yet but they are doing well post surgery at Wolfson Children’s NICU.
A statement from the hospital about the outcome of the surgery: “Today, Friday, January 2, 2015, at around 8 a.m., conjoined twins Conner and Carter Mirabal were transported from the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) to a Pediatric Surgical Suite (OR) at Wolfson Children’s Hospital.
Following placement of an arterial line and administration of anesthesia by pediatric anesthesiologists, surgery began at 10:30 a.m.
Surgery was complete at 2 p.m. and the babies are recovering in the NICU at Wolfson Children’s Hospital. They were stable throughout the surgery, thanks to the team of pediatric anesthesiologists, and the outcome was outstanding.
Here’s how the surgery broke down:
1.Dr. Poulos and Dr. Robie removed the mesh cover they placed on Dec. 13 (hours after their birth) at Wolfson Children’s Hospital to keep their shared small intestine within their bodies.
2.Dr. Poulos and Dr. Robie investigated Conner and Carter’s abdominal anatomy and found that the babies’ bile ducts were also fused (which had not been possible to view before this surgery today)
3.Dr. Poulos and Dr. Robie partially separated the shared small intestine and removed the large, swollen section of the intestine that was causing obstruction.
4.The surgeons were able to close the abdominal wall successfully.
5.The connected portion of the livers was left intact to be separated in the future. This will be the final phase of surgery.”