Conjoined twins successfully separated after 17-hour surgery

- Conjoined twins Erika and Eva Sandoval were successfully separated at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital in Stanford, California, after a 17-hour surgery, which started on December 6 and stretched into December 7.

The two-year-old Sandoval sisters shared much of their lower body and “did very well,” according to lead surgeon Gary Hartman. The information shared was provided in a press release courtesy of the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital.

Erika and Eva are now in stable condition in the pediatric intensive care unit, where they are expected to recover for about two weeks, the release about the surgery said. They will spend an additional two weeks in the hospital before they can go home, and are sharing a room but are in separate beds.

These photos and videos provided by the medical center show the twins’ progression from 2014 to the date of the surgery. When they were born, they were known as “thoraco-omphalo-ischiopagus twins,” meaning they were positioned facing each other and joined from the lower chest and upper abdomen level down, the release said. Each baby had separate hearts and lungs but shared their diaphragm muscle and some anatomical structures below the diaphragm. They each had a stomach but had other connections within their digestive system. They had one liver, one bladder, two healthy kidneys and three legs.

On December 6, known to doctors as “Separation Day,” the surgery began at 7 am, with the first incision made at 11 am. Following the surgery, Eva and Erika each had reconstructive surgery. Each child is missing about one-third of the abdomen and has one kidney and one leg.

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