SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A set of twins who were conjoined at the head are recovering after a marathon 24-hour separation surgery at the UC Davis Children’s Hospital.
“From the pregnancy it’s always like waiting, waiting for something and the big wait for separation was, you know, and this is finally over and it’s just exciting,” said mom Liliya Bachinskiy.
Abigail and Micaela Bachinskiy were born nine months ago connected at the head – a condition so rare that it happens in only about one in every 2.5 million births, UC Davis officials say.
The twins’ mother, North Highlands resident Liliya Bachinskiy, learned the pair would be conjoined when she was just 11 weeks pregnant. That’s when she was referred to the UC Davis Fetal Care and Treatment Center to help plan for their delivery.
Once the twins were born, surgeons decided on having the separation surgery once the twins were nine months old.
“As they get older, there are more risks of shared blood vessels and organs becoming larger or more entwined. The upcoming flu, COVID-19 and RSV season was also a concern,” said lead plastic surgeon Granger Wong in a release from UC Davis Health.
Surgeons spent months watching the twins’ growth using MRIs and CT scans. Further, custom-designed tissue expanders were put under the girls’ skin in preparation for the surgery.
On Saturday, the surgery started at the UC Davis Children’s Hospital.
More than 30 surgeons, nurses, anesthesiologists and other staff participated in the 24-hour operation.
The twins were officially separated at 3:28 a.m. – with the announcement of “Cranial separation!” bringing claps and cheers.
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“I will never see 3:28 on a clock again and not think of the moment that Abi and Mica became two separate babies,” said pediatric neurosurgeon Michael Edwards in a release.
The surgery was the first-ever separation of conjoined twins at the UC Davis Children’s Hospital. However, Edwards and other members of the medical team had previous experience separating conjoined twins.
Abigail and Micaela are now resting separately at the UC Davis Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and mom and dad getting used to holding their girls separately. It’s a feeling they’ve never felt until now.
“When I put Mica yesterday asleep it was, it was something different,” said father Anatoliy Bachinskiy.
A miracle right before the holidays. A blessing the Bachinskiy family holds close to their heart.
“That’s our celebration,” Liliya said.