Conjoined twins Annie and Issie return home for Christmas after separation surgery

8 Dec 2022, 11 a.m.

Annie and Issie with their mum, Hannah, and surgical team

In September, conjoined twins Annabelle and Isabelle were successfully separated at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH).

Born in March in London, twins Annie and Issie were born joined at the abdomen. They came to GOSH straight after birth before returning to their hometown in Ireland to await their separation surgery.

Their surgery took place on the day of Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral, with the clinical teams working hard to bring the huge group of staff required together on a bank holiday and overcome travel disruptions to make it into the hospital.

Complex surgery

The highly complex surgery involved more than 30 people across 18 hours in two separate theatre rooms at GOSH. Clinicians from specialities including orthopaedics, haematology, urology, general surgery, plastics, anaesthetics and intensive care supported the girls throughout the operation and have continued to care for them during their recovery.

The team also included dedicated paediatricians, ward nurses and allied health professionals including physiotherapists, occupational therapists, dietitians and the Play team, who all played a vital part in the care and rehabilitation of the girls following their operations.

Photo of the separation surgery of conjoined twin's Annie and Issie

Annie’s and Issie’s separation surgery

This was a huge team effort to bring together people from all across the hospital to separate the girls, support their recovery and get them home. Annie and Issie have done so well despite all the surgeries they have had and it’s wonderful to be able to discharge them home in time for Christmas.

GOSH is one of the few places in the world which has the right infrastructure and skills all under one roof to separate conjoined twins. More twins have been separated at GOSH than anywhere else in the world, giving every set of children treated here the best chance of survival and recovery.

Professor Paolo De Coppi, Consultant Paediatric Surgeon who headed up the large clinical team

Home for Christmas

Since their separation, the girls have had 20 surgeries between them and are both recovering well. They have now been able to return to Northern Ireland this week and have been settling in at home.

Annie and Issie with their mum, Hannah

Annie and Issie with their mum, Hannah

We’re so excited to be home after so long away. It’s been a very long journey and the girls have had to go through so much with all of their surgeries and recoveries, but they are both doing really well and are thriving.

We’re all looking forward to spending our first Christmas together as a family, visiting Santa’s grotto and getting back to normal life!

Hannah Bateson, Annie and Issie’s mum

I’m so glad to have my girls back home with me. We are very grateful to all the teams at GOSH that have cared for our girls.

Annie and Issie have shown that they are wee fighters and their determination has carried them through a really difficult journey. They are going to keep Hannah and I on our toes. I have a feeling it’s going to a very noisy household with these two!

Dan Bateson, Annie and Issie’s dad

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