Formerly conjoined twins in South Texas still closer than ever 5 years after separation surgery

Surgeons separated the conjoined twins, Scarlett and Ximena Torres, during a triplet birth, which is extremely rare.

Scarlett Torres (from left), Driscoll Children’s Hospital Pediatric Surgeon Haroon Patel, MD, and Ximena Torres at a recent check-up for the formerly conjoined twins at Driscoll Children’s Specialty Center-Harlingen. (Driscoll Children's Hospital/ KSAT)

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – A pair of formerly-conjoined South Texas twins are still closer than ever, five years after their groundbreaking separation surgery.

That surgery was conducted at Driscoll Children’s Hospital in Corpus Christi on April 12, 2016, according to hospital officials.

Surgeons separated the conjoined twins, Scarlett and Ximena Torres, of Brownsville, in a triplet birth, which is extremely rare. In fact, the odds of this happening are about one in 50 million births, according to hospital officials.

Formerly conjoined twins Scarlett and Ximena Torres were successfully separated by Driscoll Children’s Hospital surgeon April 12, 2016. Five years later, the two are doing well. (Driscoll Children's Hospital)

The procedure was conducted by 14 surgeons and a staff of medical professionals that were “ready to do whatever had to be done to offer the hope of a normal life to the conjoined twins,” the hospital said in a statement.

The surgery began at 8:37 a.m., on April 12, 2016, and concluded at 8:47 p.m., according to hospital staff. The conjoined twins were joined together below the waist and they shared a colon and bladders.

Hospital officials said the operation included staff from several specialties, including pediatric surgery, plastic surgery, urology, orthopedics and anesthesia.

Both Scarlett and Ximena were released from Driscoll Children’s Hospital on May 18, 2016 and they then returned to the Rio Grande Valley.

“We let the parents know from the start that this was going to be a lifelong relationship. It wasn’t going to be a one-and-done surgery. The girls are going to have ongoing medical needs,” said Dr. Patel in a statement.

Five years later in 2020, the now-separated twins are living their normal lives to the fullest.

The sisters, their triplet, Catalina, and their younger sister, Lucia Ambriz, visited the clinic for a routine check-up. Dr. Patel said the sisters essentially run the place.

“They’ve got free rein here,” said Dr. Patel in a release. “They are part of the family.”

Hospital officials said the pair will likely face upcoming medical challenges, but they believe they’ll encounter them with a smile on their faces.

More on KSAT:

Identical twins aren’t perfect clones, research shows

Luby’s honors twin sisters who worked for San Antonio restaurant for 40 years


About the Author:

Cody King is a digital journalist for KSAT 12. She previously worked for WICS/WRSP 20 in Springfield, Illinois.