Conjoined Twins Separated In Miraculous Surgery
It's going to be a miracle Thanksgiving for two darling twin sisters. The girls were conjoined at the lower abdomen and underwent separation surgery.
"When you looked at those little faces what were you thinking?" asked INSIDE EDITION's Megan Alexander.
"They're just very special little girls, they captured everyone's heart," said Dr. David Lanning, lead pediatric surgeon at the Children's Hospital of Richmond at Virginia Commonwealth University.
"Theresa was overnourished, and Maria was undernourished since they were born," said Dr. Lanning.
Their 35-year-old mother Lisandra was nervous.
For the very last time as conjoined twins, the sisters from the Dominican Republic were wheeled into the operating room.
The separation surgery was a year in the making. A team of 45 surgeons and pediatric specialists worked tirelessly for 23 hours to carefully divide the girls' shared organs.
In order to avoid confusing the sisters, Dr. Lanning took an imaginative precaution.
"You actually color-coded the girls during the surgery?" asked Alexander.
"We actually labeled all the ventilator tubing, IV tubing. Mango for Maria, and turquoise for Theresa," said Dr. Lanning.
After 23 grueling hours, it was a magical moment when the girls were separated.
"This was a tremendous team effort," said Alexander.
"Everybody delivered a home run," said Dr. Lanning.
They left the operating room as two separate girls for the first time. In recovery, they slept in separate beds. The risk of infection keeps them in separate rooms.
Theresa's huge incision is slowly healing. She is too young to understand where her sister went, so nurses placed her sister's photo by her bedside.
"Keeping the picture here calms Theresa down?," asked Alexander.
"She looks at it quite a bit," said Dr. Lanning.
One week after the surgery, only INSIDE EDITION was there as Theresa was wheeled into her sister's room. Reunited side by side.
"You can see them reaching for each other, they missed each other," said Alexander.
It's a touching moment as the sisters joined hands.
Their mom is overcome with joy seeing her little girls, now with a chance to grow up independently.
After 19 months of living as one, the girls are receiving physical therapy to learn how to walk on their own.
But for now, clutching each other's hands brings the tender reassurance of a twin bond that will never be broken.