Once-conjoined twin girls undergo successful separation surgery

(Courtesy of Lucile Packard Children's

A pair of toddler twin girls who were once conjoined underwent a successful separation surgery at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford earlier this week, hospital officials said today.

Erika and Eva Sandoval, both 2 years old, shared most of their lower body before they went into surgery for 17 hours from Tuesday to early Wednesday morning, according to hospital officials.

The girls from Antelope, an unincorporated community in Sacramento County, are in stable condition at the pediatric intensive care unit and are expected to recover in about two weeks, hospital officials said.

“They did very well,” said Dr. Gary Hartman, who preformed the surgery.”I’m very pleased with the outcome,” Hartman said.

The girls had their own hearts, lung and stomachs, but shared a liver, bladder and diaphragm muscle prior to the procedure, hospital officials said.

“Before separation, you could think of their anatomy as two people above the rib cage, merging almost into one below the bellybutton,” said Dr. Peter Lorenz, who was in charge of the reconstructive stage of the surgery.

The girls were born in 2014 by cesarean section at the hospital, where they remained for about six months. They were seen by multiple doctors before they grew large enough for the separation procedure, hospital
officials said.

The last separation operation on twins at the hospital was in 2011.

Conjoined twins are a rare occurrence that happens as infrequently as once in every 200,000 births, according to hospital officials.

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