Erin and Abby Delaney, conjoined twins who were attached at the head, are reportedly thriving after undergoing separation surgery.
The twins underwent the complex operation in June 2017 about 10 months after they were born.
In April, their mother, Heather Delaney, said the girls have a bright future.
“I can’t imagine our lives without them now,” she told People last month. “They made our lives complete.”
The report noted that the surgery to separate the girls, who live in North Carolina, is quite risky. The pair shared a superior sagittal sinus, which is a large blood vessel that carries blood to the brain.
“A lot of the time one of the twins who are connected this way dies in surgery,” said lead neurosurgeon Dr. Gregory Heuer in the report. “We easily could have lost them.”
Elaborating further, he said that at three months, doctors separated a crucial bone connecting the two girls.
“Then we sort of slowly pushed them apart and changed the anatomy which, where the two were connected and then that allowed us to do the separation,” Heuer told CBS News in January. “The most difficult part for these girls was that they shared some really important big blood vessels so having to be able to separate those and having the brain recover after we did the separation was really the hardest part,” he continued.
After several months in the intensive care unit, Abby and Erin were able to go home in Thanksgiving 2017.
Riley Delaney, the twins’ father, added the girls are the best of friends, adding that Erin is “very independent” and an “attention hog” while Abby is “little miss snuggles.”
“They each have their own unique personalities,” he told the news outlet. “It’s so fun to watch them together.”
She continued: “They’re little fighters and miracles. They have a bright future ahead of them.”
At 2 years of age, the twins are receiving physical, occupational, and speech therapy to aid in their development.
Riley Delaney told People: “They’re delayed in some ways because of how long they were conjoined, but we’re hopeful they’ll make up for lost time.”
The girls, meanwhile, will have to undergo more surgery to close the openings in their skulls in the coming years.
Nineteen months ago, twins who were born joined at the head underwent a complicated and innovative separation procedure at @ChildrensPhila. Today, they are thriving. Here’s a look at their incredible recovery: https://t.co/hk0EVGyoni pic.twitter.com/D9sTEvf06t
— Philly.com (@phillydotcom) January 25, 2019
Their family released a statement soon after the procedure in 2017.
“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,” mom, Heather Delaney said at the time. “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.”
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 a minimum number of surgeries,” Dr. Taylor told Fox 29.
The parents said it wasn’t 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.”