Conjoined Twins Prepare for Separation Surgery Where 30 Doctors Will Participate

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 21, 2015   |   5:37PM   |   Houston, TX

At over the years, we’ve profiled a number of conjoined twins. In some cases, parents of the twins were given suggestions by doctors to have an abortion. In other cases, the babies were given a chance at life and they were unable to be separated because their unique medical situation made it medically dangerous to perform the surgery, which could have placed their lives at risk.

In those later cases like Tatiana and Christa, who are joined at the head, while some people in society would view them as “freaks” who have a low “quality of life,” they can see through each others’ eyes and they totally support each other physically and emotionally.

Here’s another case of conjoined twins displaying the beauty of life. In this case, doctors say they will be able to separate them in a surgery next month that will involve as many as 30 doctors.

“I know that we’re going be successful at separating them and I know that they’re both going to walk into their kindergarten classes just like any other kid. And by the time they get to be that age they’re going have forgotten all these processes and everything they went through,” said Dr. Cass. “From a technical standpoint I’m 100% sure we’re going to get through this. There are lots of challenges and things that can happen and complications that can arise but I’m confident we’re going to get through it.”


Here’s more:

Nine-month-old conjoined twins are getting ready for surgery next month that doctors say has an excellent chance of success.

Knatalye Hope and Adeline Faith Mata of Lubbock, Texas, were born April 11 at Texas Children’s Hospital Pavilion for Women here. At the time, they weighed 7 ounces each, and their mom had been pregnant only 31 weeks.

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“I’m nervous. I’m excited and anxious. And I’m ready to have my two separate babies,” said Elysse Mata, the girls’ mother.

Knatalye and Adeline, joined from chest to pelvis, now weigh about 17 pounds each but still need round-the-clock attention in the neonatal intensive care ward.

“They play with each other, they hold hands, they’ll give hugs (and) they give kisses because they’re so close they have no choice,” Mata said.


One month ago in a five-hour surgery, doctors placed custom-made tissue expanders into the girls’ chest and abdomen areas. The expanders, much-like balloons inflated gradually with fluid, will help slowly stretch and grow additional skin so surgeons will have enough for both girls once the separation surgery takes place.

“They are a very challenging set of conjoined twins,” said Dr. Darrell Cass, a pediatric surgeon and co-director of Texas Children’s Fetal Center. “Fortunately for them, the life-threatening organs — the lung, the heart, the liver, diaphragm muscles — we think are going to be technically separable.”

Ten surgeon specialty teams, a likely total of 30 people, will be involved in the separation procedure, Cass said.