Angelina and Angelica Sabuco are running around, making new friends and looking forward to their third birthday party in August—their first as two separate little girls. “That is a great birthday gift!” said their mother Ginady Sabuco. “They love to run around, go out and play with other children now.” It’s hard to believe that, a short while ago, these same two girls were struggling even to walk and faced an uncertain future.
Angelina (“Inah”) and Angelica (“Icah”) were born joined at the chest and abdomen, with livers, diaphragms and breast bones all fused. After a year of detailed planning and preparation, the sisters were separated at Packard Children’s in a 10-hour surgery on Nov. 1, 2011. They had a joyful homecoming just two weeks later, and this spring enjoyed their first-ever Easter egg hunt. “They have really bounced back,” said lead surgeon Gary Hartman, MD, of his sixth conjoined twins separation. “Each time I see them in the clinic, they are more mobile and better adjusted. It’s been a very smooth recovery.”
As part of their recovery, the girls had physical and occupational therapy to build their strength, endurance and fine-motor skills. They also continue to see Hartman and plastic surgeon Peter Lorenz, MD, to monitor the healing of their abdomens and chests.
“They are healing right on track,” said Lorenz, who implanted a custom-made plate in each girl’s chest where the sternum should be. The plates are expected to dissolve as the grafted bones fuse. “We expect their chests to become more normally shaped as they grow, and we have already seen a good improvement,” he added.
Meanwhile, the twins continue to enjoy new “firsts” after being separated. “I love seeing them and knowing that they are now living life as normal two-year-olds,” said Hartman. “That has been our goal all along.”
- Stanford Children's Health
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