Mata conjoined twins take first step towards separation with tissue expansion surgery at Texas Children's Hospital

HOUSTON - (Dec. 19, 2014) - Knatalye Hope and Adeline Faith Mata, conjoined twin girls born at Texas Children's Pavilion for Women in April, underwent a five-hour surgery at Texas Children's Hospital on Dec. 16 to place custom-made tissue expanders into their chest and abdomen area. The tissue expanders will help to stretch the babies' skin in preparation for their separation surgery expected to take place in early 2015.

"We are pleased the babies did so well during this surgery and a multidisciplinary team continues to monitor them in our neonatal intensive care unit as they recover," said Dr. Larry Hollier, chief of plastic surgery at Texas Children's and chief of the division of plastic surgery at Baylor College of Medicine. "On a regular basis, additional fluid will be added to the tissue expanders, which are like balloons, to allow the skin to be stretched gradually. We anticipate needing extra skin to provide coverage once the babies are separated."

The surgery, performed by Texas Children's plastic surgeons Dr. Larry Hollier and Dr. Ed Buchanan, will require a recovery time of six to eight weeks, during which time the planning process for the separation surgery will continue among a team of multidisciplinary specialists in pediatric surgery, urology, plastic surgery, orthopedic surgery, cardiovascular surgery and pediatric gynecology.

"We have been preparing for the twins' separation surgery for months and the process is ongoing," 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. "In addition to multidisciplinary meetings, our plans have included, among other things, building a 3-D model of their organs, conducting simulations of the surgery and post-operative care they will receive, as well as helping create devices to support their care, such as a swing which will hold the girls upright to alleviate pressure on their healing incisions."

The separation surgery will involve multiple teams of surgeons who will work together to separate the twins who share a chest wall, lungs, pericardial sac (the lining of the heart), diaphragm, liver, intestines and pelvis.

"We are so thankful for the support, thoughts and prayers for our girls as they continue to grow, recover and prepare for the next step in their journey," said Elysse Mata, mother of Knatalye and Adeline. "We feel fortunate to be in the hands of such caring and skilled physicians, surgeons and caregivers here at Texas Children's."

About the Mata twins

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 Mata, and their 5-year-old brother, Azariah.

The family, from Lubbock, 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.

Now 8 months old, the babies weigh approximately 16 pounds each and are doing well as they continue to be cared for by a team of specialists in the Level IV neonatal intensive care unit at Texas Children's Hospital.

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About Texas Children’s Hospital

Texas Children’s Hospital, a not-for-profit health care organization, is committed to creating a healthier future for children and women throughout the global community by leading in patient care, education and research. Consistently ranked as the best children’s hospital in Texas, and among the top in the nation, Texas Children’s has garnered widespread recognition for its expertise and breakthroughs in pediatric and women’s health. The hospital includes the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute; the Feigin Center for pediatric research; Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women, a comprehensive obstetrics/gynecology facility focusing on high-risk births; Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus, a community hospital in suburban West Houston; and Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands, a second community hospital planned to open in 2017. The organization also created the nation’s first HMO for children, has the largest pediatric primary care network in the country and a global health program that’s channeling care to children and women all over the world. Texas Children’s Hospital is affiliated with Baylor College of Medicine. For more information, go to Get the latest news by visiting the online newsroom and Twitter at