Conjoined twins Maria Paz and Maria Jose are now separated in Chile after parents Jessica Navarrete and Roberto Paredes kept an anxious vigil until word came from Surgeon Francisco Ossandon of the successful surgery at Luis Calvo Mackenna Hospital in Santiago.
The 10-month-old conjoined twin baby girls were separated at the chest, stomach and pelvis. The surgery took 18 hours.
“The operation went extremely well despite challenges,” according to their doctors in Chile.
Maria Paz and Maria Jose are currently recovering in an intensive care unit. They have been being closely monitored by doctors for infections or other possible complications. Late Tuesday night, the doctors successfully separated the conjoined twins at the thorax, abdomen and pelvis. It was their seventh and most complex operation to date.
Chief surgeon Francisco Ossandon described it as the moment “the girls finished the process of being born.”
“Before, they had two souls and one body,” Ossandon said.
Surgery on one of the them was completed early Wednesday after a total of 19 hours, while for the other it took more than 20 hours.
“We had a number of difficulties during the surgery. There were some surprises, but we were able to fix, solve the problems,” Ossandon said at a news conference.
He added that the they came out of the surgery in good condition. Ossandon, however, didn’t rule out future complications involving the effects from anesthesia and possible infections.
“We’re very happy because we think they’ve had the best evolution we could have hoped for,” the Chile doctor stated.
Earlier this year, doctors separated their legs, urinary tracts, pulmonary systems and other parts of their bodies.
During the latest surgery, doctors managed to separate an intestine that had been shared by the two, giving each of them part of it, said Jaime Manalich, the government’s health minister, who visited the family at the hospital.
Surgeons weren’t able to completely close their abdominal cavities or their thoraxes, and therefore had to use meshing to cover them, Ossandon said. “These are foreign bodies that sometimes the body recognizes as foreign, and that can cause infections,” he said.
Ossandon said the conjoined twins will return to the operating room every two or three days so that doctors can clean their wounds.