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Conjoined Twins Maria & TeresaVCU Performs Separation Surgery on Conjoined Twins

A team of Virginia Commonwealth University pediatric surgeons successfully completed the separation of 19-month-old conjoined twins Maria and Teresa Tapia of the Dominican Republic.

The complex, 20-hour procedure commenced Monday, November 7, 2011 at 6 am and was the first surgery of its kind at the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU. Led by David Lanning, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor in the VCU Department of Surgery and surgeon-in-chief, the team was made up of about 45 physicians and pediatric subspecialists who volunteered their time.

Pediatric Surgery Team, separaton of conjoined twinsCritical members of the separation surgical team also included Jennifer Rhodes, M.D., assistant professor in the VCU Department of Surgery’s Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and director of Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU’s Center for Craniofacial Care; Robert Fisher, M.D., professor of surgery and director of the liver transplant program; and Claudio Oiticica, M.D., associate professor of surgery.

"While there aren't really centers of excellence for conjoined twins because they're so rare, there is particular expertise here at VCU in all facets of complex pediatric surgeries, including separation of conjoined twins," Lanning said. "We also have worked for years with the World Pediatric Project, the organization that brought the girls here."

conjoined twins after surgeryMaria, Teresa and their mother first came to Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU for the twins’ initial evaluation in December 2010 through the World Pediatric Project (WPP) – an organization whose main mission is to link worldwide pediatric surgical, diagnostic and preventative resources to critically ill children in developing countries.

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