Separation of Thoraco-Omphalo-Ischiopagus Conjoined Twins: Surgical Planning, Management, and Outcomes.

Journal Article (Journal Article)


Conjoined twins are a rare medical phenomenon that offers a unique challenge for medical professionals. The complex anatomy of conjoined twins dictates their survival and amenability to separation, making each case different in terms of medical management, surgical planning, and patient outcomes. Thoraco-omphalo-ischiopagus twins, joined from the thorax to the pelvis, are one of the rarest orientations recorded in the medical literature, and successful separation of this subset of conjoined twins has not been documented. This report presents a novel case of thoraco-omphalo-ischiopagus tetrapus twins who were successfully separated at 10 months of age. The preoperative planning, operative details, and postoperative course are discussed as they relate to the reconstructive effort.


Three-dimensional medical modeling was pursued early in the planning process and was used to estimate the soft-tissue requirements for reconstruction and to design custom tissue expanders.


The reconstructive effort required postponement until respiratory status was optimized. Even with elaborate preoperative planning, primary closure of the abdomen was limited because of tissue edema and other less predictable patient factors. Delayed closure of the abdominal wall was made possible with negative-pressure wound therapy and secondary flap advancements.


Preoperative coordination with necessary vendors, a multidisciplinary surgical effort, and optimal timing of the surgical intervention all contribute to the successful separation and long-term survival of thoraco-omphalo-ischiopagus conjoined twins.

Clinical question/level of evidence

Therapeutic, V.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Trost, JG; Lin, LO; Clark, SJ; Khechoyan, DY; Hollier, LH; Buchanan, EP

Published Date

  • November 2016

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 138 / 5

Start / End Page

  • 1064 - 1072

PubMed ID

  • 27783004

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1529-4242

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0032-1052

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1097/prs.0000000000002660


  • eng