Conjoined twins represent a rare congenital malformation. Pygopagus twins are fused at the sacrum and perineum, with union of the spine. The authors report a successful separation of a unique case of pygopagus twins sharing a U-shaped spinal cord, which the authors identified through aberrant nerves by intraoperative physiological spinal root examination.
The 6-month-old male pygopagus conjoined twins, who were diagnosed in the prenatal period, underwent separation. They had a single dural sac containing a U-shaped continuous spinal cord; their filum terminale appeared completely fused and the anatomical border of the spinal cord was not distinguishable. A triggered electromyogram (tEMG) was used on each nerve root to determine which belonged to one twin versus the other, to detect nerve cross, and to identify functional midline cleavage. Finally, the twins were separated after spinal division. Both twins recovered uneventfully with no lower limb neurological deficits or walking impairment for 16 months.
Pygopagus twins with a conjoined spinal cord are very rare, but a good long-term functional prognosis can be expected with successful separation. Intraoperative tEMG is useful in spinal separation surgery for twins with a conjoined spinal cord.