Conjoined twin girls at home after successful surgery to separate them

Share Article

After 12 weeks of recovery following emergency, complex surgery at Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital, conjoined twins Ruby and Rosie are separated, home and doing well.

paediatric surgery

Prof Pierro with Ruby on his right and Rosie on his left

Daniel and I are so happy and relieved to have the girls at home. The team at GOSH were fantastic and our family are incredibly grateful to all the staff who cared for Ruby and Rosie and supported us throughout a very anxious time.

On 27 July 2012, a team of specialist paediatric surgeons and anaesthetists, led by Professor Agostino Pierro, undertook a challenging operation to separate conjoined twins. The twin girls, Ruby and Rosie, who are from Bexleyheath in Kent, were joined at the abdomen and were referred to Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust for the planned operation.

Rosie and Ruby were separated on their second day of life and spent five days in intensive care before being transferred to a ward. The operation to separate them took approximately five hours. They were discharged from Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) when they were three weeks old.

Professor Pierro, Consultant Paediatric Surgeon and a global leader in treating these complex cases, said:

“In this case, the twins were joined by the abdomen at the level of the umbilicus and shared part of the intestine. The operation to separate the twins had to be performed as an emergency because of an intestinal blockage. We are delighted with the outcome of the operation. The babies will need further treatment in the future, but we expect that they will both be able to lead happy and normal lives.

"The separation of Ruby and Rosie was a complex procedure but was less difficult to achieve than some of the other conjoined twins separations we have successfully carried out at Great Ormond Street Hospital.

“The joining was not as extensive as some of the other twins that we’ve separated. Nevertheless, the challenges with this specific separation were the joining of the intestine and the intestinal obstruction as well as the unclear anatomy in spite of several pre-operative scans.

“Any separation of conjoined twins requires expertise, which I and the team have developed over many years in this hospital. The separation of conjoined twins can involve most of our paediatric specialties, such as general surgery, urology, anaesthesia, intensive care, radiology, orthopaedics, neurosurgery, plastic surgery, cardiac surgery, nephrology, respiratory medicine, microbiology and nursing staff.”

The twins, now 12 weeks old, were delivered by caesarean section at University College Hospital and transferred to GOSH for the surgery.

Their mother Angela said:

“Daniel and I are so happy and relieved to have the girls at home. The team at GOSH were fantastic and our family are incredibly grateful to all the staff who cared for Ruby and Rosie and supported us throughout a very anxious time.”

The hospital has now treated a number of conjoined twins and is a Specialist Commissioning Group (SCG) recipient of funding to continue this work. GOSH is the most experienced centre in Europe for the management of and, if necessary, the separation of conjoined twins, often relying on charity donations who come forward to help children referred from abroad.

The GOSH team has dealt with 25 separations, 22 here (including the most recent twins) and three elsewhere. They have also dealt with nine inoperable cases, giving a total of 34.

Such operations involve a team of expert nurses, doctors, and other health professionals, providing the full range of expertise needed. The experience of the team in imaging, intensive care and the like is as important as surgical skill.

The prospects for conjoined twins vary widely depending on their general state of health, how they are joined and what organs are shared. For planned separation where the children are stable and where separation can be undertaken at a suitable time, the survival rate for such operations carried out at GOSH is around 80 per cent. Under these circumstances both usually survive and have a good quality of life.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Visit website