Twins who were formerly conjoined at the head are now able to sit up on their own and have hit “development milestones” after they went through separation surgery four months ago.
Abby and Erin Delaney, of Mooresville, North Carolina, had spent all 15 months of their entire lives at the Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania, Fox29 reported.
“Nearly five months after separation, we are happy to announce that both Erin and Abby Delaney are doing well as they continue to recover from this very complex surgery,” Gregory Heuer, the girls’ neurosurgeon who led the 30-member surgical team, told Fox29.
Erin was discharged, but Abby remains in the hospital.
The family recently issued a statement.
“Although this has been a long journey, with many ups and downs, Riley and I are thrilled to see how well the girls are doing today,” the mother, Heather Delaney reported to the station. “We are so grateful for the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia team, and for the support and encouragement that our families, our friends and the community have given us during this long journey.”
Heather and Riley Delaney said that they were told their twins were craniopagus conjoined twins—the rarest type of conjoined twins, accounting for only 2 percent of cases, according to the Fox affiliate.
“That was a very scary day,” said Heather Delaney, 27, as the Charlotte Observer reported. “It’s one of those things that when it’s told to you, (you think) it’s something that happens on TV, it doesn’t happen to normal people.”
The scans found that they were joined by bone and skin, but that their brains were separate, increasing the chance that they could be successfully separated with minimal risk.
It was the 24th time the hospital performed a separation surgery, the most of any hospital in the Western hemisphere. “We know that children heal better and faster the younger they are, therefore our goal for Erin and Abby was separation as soon as possible with minimum number of surgeries,” Dr. Taylor told Fox 29.
Leading up to the date of separation, the parents continued the weigh in the options of separation versus keeping the twins conjoined, saying it was not an easy choice.
“You don’t know if they’re going to come back,” Heather Delaney said. “And if they do come back, you don’t know how they’re going to come back.”