In a groundbreaking surgical procedure, two infant girls who were conjoined at the head have been successfully separated. The medical team at UC Davis Children’s Hospital in Sacramento carried out the complex 24-hour operation on Abigail and Micaela Bachinskiy, who were born as craniopagus twins, an incredibly rare condition. The hospital announced the successful surgery in a press release.
Dr. Michael Edwards, the lead pediatric neurosurgeon, described the surgery as a landmark achievement for UC Davis Children’s Hospital. He expressed his satisfaction with the outcome, stating that Abigail and Micaela are now in stable condition and recovering in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. The medical staff’s unwavering dedication has provided these extraordinary twins with a promising future.
The mother of the twins, Liliya Miroshnik, expressed her gratitude, remarking that the separation felt like an impossible task. She credited the doctors and nurses at UC Davis, along with the grace of God, for making the surgery a reality. The family is immensely thankful for the successful outcome.
The journey began when Miroshnik discovered her daughters’ condition during her 11th week of pregnancy. Despite the initial shock, she found solace in her husband’s reassurance that everything would work out. Together, they embraced the love for their unborn children and faced the challenges ahead with unwavering determination.
Miroshnik’s doctor referred her to the UC Davis Fetal Care and Treatment Center, where she received comprehensive prenatal care and learned more about her daughters’ condition. The medical teams at UC Davis prepared extensively for the twins’ delivery, simulating various scenarios and addressing the numerous potential risks associated with the procedure.
On December 30, Abigail and Micaela were born and admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). They spent seven weeks under close medical supervision before being discharged from the hospital. However, when the twins reached the age of nine months, the doctors decided it was necessary to separate their heads due to increasing risks associated with their condition. The approaching flu, COVID-19, and RSV season heightened concerns about their well-being.
Dr. Granger Wong, the lead plastic surgeon, explained the rarity of the twins’ condition and the urgency of the separation procedure. Only a small subset of craniopagus twins has the fortuitous anatomical structure that allows for a separation attempt and the potential for two healthy babies. Dr. Edwards also emphasized the uniqueness of this anomaly and the exceptional achievement it is to successfully separate conjoined twins.
Months of preparation went into planning the surgery. The medical team utilized 3D models of the twins’ fused skulls to practice the procedure and employed mixed reality goggles to visualize the intricate details of their anatomy. Custom-designed tissue expanders were placed underneath the girls’ skin to encourage skin growth and facilitate the reconstruction of their skulls and scalps after the operation.
When late October arrived, the medical team, consisting of over 30 surgeons, nurses, anesthesiologists, and surgical staff, was fully prepared. Led by Dr. Edwards, Dr. Wong, Dr. Rajvinder Dhamrait (director of pediatric anesthesiology), and Aida Benitez (Children’s Surgery Center nursing lead), the team executed the surgery flawlessly. Each member wore a designated color to signify their role, ensuring smooth coordination throughout the procedure.