(Credit: Allen Kramer, Texas Children's Hospital)
(Credit: Allen Kramer, Texas Children's Hospital)
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Mata Conjoined Twins Take First Step Towards Separation with Tissue Expansion Surgery at Texas Children’s Hospital

Mata Conjoined Twins Take First Step Towards Separation with Tissue Expansion Surgery at Texas Children’s Hospital

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Knatalye Hope and Adeline Faith Mata, conjoined twin girls born at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women in April, underwent a five-hour surgery at Texas Children’s Hospital on Dec. 16 to place custom-made tissue expanders into their chest and abdomen area. The tissue expanders will help to stretch the babies’ skin in preparation for their separation surgery expected to take place in early 2015.

“We are pleased the babies did so well during this surgery and a multi-disciplinary team continues to monitor them in our neonatal intensive care unit as they recover,” said Larry Hollier, M.D., chief of plastic surgery at Texas Children’s and chief of the division of plastic surgery at Baylor College of Medicine. “On a regular basis, additional fluid will be added to the tissue expanders, which are like balloons, to allow the skin to be stretched gradually. We anticipate needing extra skin to provide coverage once the babies are separated.”

The surgery, performed by Texas Children’s plastic surgeons Hollier and Ed Buchanan, M.D., will require a recovery time of six to eight weeks, during which time the planning process for the separation surgery will continue among a team of multidisciplinary specialists in pediatric surgery, urology, plastic surgery, orthopedic surgery, cardiovascular surgery, and pediatric gynecology.

“We have been preparing for the twins’ separation surgery for months and the process is ongoing,” said Darrell Cass, M.D., pediatric surgeon, co-director of Texas Children’s Fetal Center, and associate professor of surgery, pediatrics and obstetrics and gynecology at Baylor College of Medicine. “In addition to multidisciplinary meetings, our plans have included, among other things, building a 3-D model of their organs, conducting simulations of the surgery and post-operative care they will receive, as well as helping create devices to support their care, such as a swing which will hold the girls upright to alleviate pressure on their healing incisions.”

The separation surgery will involve multiple teams of surgeons who will work together to separate the twins who share a chest wall, lungs, pericardial sac (the lining of the heart), diaphragm, liver, intestines and pelvis.

“We are so thankful for the support, thoughts and prayers for our girls as they continue to grow, recover and prepare for the next step in their journey,” said Elysse Mata, mother of Knatalye and Adeline. “We feel fortunate to be in the hands of such caring and skilled physicians, surgeons and caregivers here at Texas Children’s.”

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