Formerly conjoined twin Adeline Faith Mata joined her family June 9 after being discharged from Texas Children’s Hospital. Her sister, Knatalye Hope, went home May 8, less than three months after she and Adeline underwent a successful separation surgery.
Dressed in matching striped pastel sundresses and accompanied by their 5-year-old brother, Azariah, the girls sat on their parents’ laps and smiled for cameras capturing the memorable event.
“We are so pleased with the progress of both Adeline and Knatalye following their first-of-its-kind separation surgery earlier this year,” said Dr. Darrell Cass, pediatric surgeon, co-director of Texas Children’s Fetal Center and associate professor of surgery, pediatrics and obstetrics and gynecology at Baylor College of Medicine. “They will both require additional therapies as they continue to grow, but we are thrilled with their outcomes and are optimistic they will continue to do very well.”
The Mata family will reside in Houston temporarily for follow-up appointments at the hospital before returning to their hometown of Lubbock.
“The past year has been such a whirlwind for our family and we are so thankful we can finally have both girls home with us,” said Elysse Mata, mother of the twins. “In addition to the great care our girls received, the thoughts, prayers and outpouring of love from the community really helped get us through the last year and we are grateful for everyone’s continued support.”
Knatalye and Adeline were born on April 11 at 3:41 a.m. at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women, estimated to weigh 3 pounds, 7 ounces each. Delivered via Caesarean-section at 31 weeks gestation, Knatalye and Adeline were welcomed by their parents, Elysse and John Eric Mata, and their older brother, Azariah.
The family learned during a routine ultrasound on Jan. 13, 2014 that Elysse was carrying twins and they were conjoined. Subsequently, the family was referred to Texas Children’s Fetal Center where they underwent extensive prenatal imaging, multidisciplinary consultation and development of plans to achieve a safe delivery and postnatal care.
The girls spent the first 10 months of their lives in the Level IV neonatal intensive care unit at Texas Children’s. In December 2014, they underwent chest and abdomen area. The tissue expanders helped to stretch their skin in preparation for the separation surgery.
During their historic separation surgery in February, a team of more than 26 clinicians including 12 surgeons, six anesthesiologists and eight surgical nurses, among others, worked together to separate the girls who shared a chest wall, lungs, pericardial sac (the lining of the heart), diaphragm, liver, intestines, colon and pelvis. During the complex surgery, the team worked for approximately 23 hours on Knatalye and 26 hours on Adeline with the official separation occurring approximately 18 hours into the surgery. Among the surgical subspecialties involved were pediatric surgery, plastic surgery, cardiovascular surgery, urology, liver transplant surgery, orthopedic surgery and pediatric gynecology.
Following their separation surgery, the girls were cared for by a multidisciplinary team in the hospital’s pediatric intensive care unit before moving to lower-acuity units prior to discharge. Both girls also underwent additional surgeries including the removal of rods from their pelvises and the placement of a gastrostomy button in each girl. Adeline also underwent a tracheostomy surgery in April to aid in her breathing and lung development and was discharged on a ventilator to provide additional breathing support. Knatalye and Adeline continue to receive physical and occupational therapy after recovering from surgery and will be carefully followed by pediatric subspecialty experts.
“When I first met the Mata family and learned of the diagnosis, I was optimistic we would have a positive outcome,” Cass said. “It is with great joy to watch them leave the hospital and I look forward to the day Elysse shares with me pictures of them walking into kindergarten together.”