Conjoined twins separated during 7-hour surgery at Texas Children's Hospital

HOUSTON – Conjoined twin girls were separated last month during a seven-hour surgery at Texas Children’s Hospital, officials announced Monday.

Anna Grace Richards and Hope Elizabeth Richards were born Dec. 29, 2016, via caesarean section after 35 weeks and five days of gestation, according to a news release from the hospital. Officials said the twins were joined at their chest and abdomen, sharing a diaphragm, liver and part of their heart.

PHOTOS: The Richards conjoined twins before separation

Since then, officials said the girls have been cared for by a team of specialists at the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit, preparing for the separation surgery.

Part of that preparation included a surgery in November where doctors placed tissue expanders that allowed the girls’ skin to grow and stretch, officials said.

A team of nearly 75 surgeons, anesthesiologists, cardiologists and nurses successfully separated the girls on Jan. 13, officials said.

PHOTOS: Separation surgery for conjoined twins

“The success of this incredibly complex surgery was the result of our dedicated team members’ hard work throughout the last year,” said Dr. Larry Hollier, surgeon-in-chief and chief of plastic surgery at Texas Children’s. “Through simulations and countless planning meetings, we were able to prepare for situations that could arise during the separation. We are thrilled with the outcome and look forward to continuing to care for Anna and Hope as they recover.”

“We’ve thought about and prayed for this day for almost two years,” said Jill Richards, the girls’ mother. “It’s an indescribable feeling to look at our girls in two separate beds. We couldn’t be more thankful to the entire team at Texas Children’s for making this dream come true.” 

Officials said the family is now concentrating on the girls’ recovery.

The Richards family has a GoFundMe page to help cover medical bills after the surgery.

About the Authors:

Aaron Barker has been a senior digital editor at KPRC 2 since 2016. As a meteorologist, he specializes in stories about the weather. He has covered Hurricane Harvey, the Astros first World Series win, the Santa Fe High School shooting, the ITC fire and Tropical Storm Imelda.