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Anisa Arsenault
Associate Editor

This Is What It Looks Like to Separate Conjoined Twins

The girls are expected to live normal, independent lives.
PUBLISHED ON 04/25/2018

Anna Grace and Hope Elizabeth Richards spent the first year of their lives connected by their torsos. They shared a liver, diaphragm, pericardial sac, and a large blood vessel connecting their hearts. After a successful surgery separated them earlier this year, their mom can’t help but focus on something so simple:

“It’s an indescribable feeling to look at our girls in two separate beds,” Jill Richards says.

The surgery, performed by a team of 75 clinicians from Texas Children’s Hospital, was completed in seven hours on Jan. 13. Now, the hospital and the Richards family are sharing a behind-the-scenes look at the separation surgery with Love What Matters.

“The success of this incredibly complex surgery was the result of our dedicated team members’ hard work throughout the last year,” says Dr. Larry Hollier, MD, 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.”

Ahead of their separation surgery, the girls needed to undergo a tissue expanding surgery in the fall to allow their skin to grow and stretch. And they’ll both need follow up surgeries to stabilize their chest walls.

Still, Anna and Hope are expected to live normal, independent lives.

This marks the fourth successful conjoined twin separation surgery at Texas Children’s. These little ladies were in good hands.