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Successful Separation of ND Conjoined Twins in Mayo Clinic

Yesterday, the surgical team was led by Dr. Christopher Moir at Minnesota's Mayo Clinic has successfully separated five-month-old conjoined twins from Bismarck, North Dakota// (ND) and now they are on the challenging job of reconstructing their chest walls.

Abygail and Madysen Fitterer, the twin girls born on Aug. 8 to Stacy and Suzy Fitterer and who were born joined at the chest - were both doing very well following the seven-hour-long surgery at the Mayo Clinic.

'This is Day 99 of their hospital stay. It is also Day 1 of their beautiful, separate lives,' said Dr. Christopher Moir, who had already led the teams that separated conjoined twin girls from Fargo, N.D., in May and twin boys from Mankato in November.

The Fitterer twins have been at Mayo Clinic since October when doctors implanted tissue expanders to slowly stretch the girls' skin enough to close their incisions from the separation surgery.

Doctors said that the most difficult part of the procedure was separating and reconstructing the girls' chest walls and closing their chests over their hearts. Moir said the girls shared one liver that, fortunately, had two drainage systems. He also was pleased to report that they didn't share any intestines, which doctors had initially feared.

This was Mayo's fifth separation of conjoined twins. Besides the two sets last year, Mayo did two other separations around 10 years ago.

The proud parents and their other child, 2-year-old Nicholas, will remain in Minnesota until the full reconstruction surgery can be completed. 'The outpouring of support and prayers has been overwhelming,' said the father of the twin girls, who added, 'This has been a real source of strength for us.'

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