PHILADELPHIA (AP) – More than nine months after they were born joined at the lower chest and abdomen, twin girls made their public debut Thursday at the hospital where they were separated.
Allison June and Amelia Lee Tucker, clad in animal-striped shirts and flowered headbands, were introduced during a news conference at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Both girls still have nasal tubes but appeared rosy-cheeked and alert as they were held by their parents, Shellie and Greg Tucker, of Adams, N.Y., about 300 miles north of Philadelphia near Lake Ontario.
Allison, described by doctors and her parents as the smaller but feistier twin, was discharged from the hospital Monday. Her sister Amelia, who’s larger and more reserved, needs a little more recovery time and will remain in the hospital into the new year.
“We totally expect them to have full, independent lives,” said pediatric surgeon Dr. Holly Hedrick, who led a 40-person medical team in the complex seven-hour operation on Nov. 7.
The twins shared a chest wall, diaphragm, liver and pericardium, the membrane around the heart.
Shellie Tucker was about 20 weeks into her pregnancy when she learned she was carrying conjoined twins. Prenatal screening tests at Children’s Hospital, including ultrasound imaging and MRI, determined that they would be good candidates for separation.
Planning for the separation surgery began months before the twins were delivered by cesarean section on March 1. Shortly after they were born, plastic surgeons inserted expanders under the girls’ skin to increase the skin surface available to cover exposed organs after their separation.
Shellie Tucker described the past year as a “roller coaster ride” but said she was relieved now that her daughters are doing so well.
“The burden is completely gone, and I am very, very happy,” she said.
The surgery was the 21st successful separation of conjoined twins performed at the hospital. The first was in 1957.
According to statistics provided by the hospital, conjoined twins occur once in every 50,000 to 60,000 births and about 70 percent are female. Most conjoined twins are stillborn.
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia:
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
- Arizona kids in crisis: How you can help
- 11 holiday classics for the ultimate movie marathon
- 2016 college football rivalry games you simply can't miss
- New treatment offers hope for migraine sufferers
- 11 stadiums to watch your favorite football team
- Shopping for a TV? Best models for 2016
- The new beer pairing guide for holiday foods
- Avoid this holiday plumbing disaster in your home
- 7 tips to avoid holiday weight gain
- New treatments mean better prostate cancer survival rates
- 5 of the scariest things found in drains
- 6 tips to create the best family movie night
- New bone marrow procedure holds promise for healing pain
- The best places to celebrate Fall in Phoenix
- Infamous athletes who did the most time for their crimes
- Diet, exercise and aspirin: 3 tools to fight colon cancer
- 2016 baseball highlights, bloopers and blunders
- See how CFOs really feel about business in the Valley
- The best television shows on the internet
- The 5 worst things you could do for your roof
- 6 coolest things brewing in Arizona
- The virus that keeps head and neck cancers on the rise
- State Fair ‘Kid Reporter’ has all the angles covered
- 4 important things to know about timeshare maintenance fees
- Signs of delayed car crash injuries
- The truth about sports concussions
- The Alzheimer's epidemic: Facts you need to know
- The season is here, keep your Fantasy Football team strong all season
- 8 TV shows you can't miss this fall
- Football is here: 6 tips to make this your best season ever