Second surgery on conjoined Filipino twins ends "beautifully"

NEW YORK (AFP) - US surgeons completed the second stage of a delicate proceedure to separate the shared blood vessels of 18-month-old Filipino twins joined at the head since birth saying the nearly six hour proceedure had gone "beautifully."

The operation was the second stage of a months-long process at the Montefiore Children's Hospital in New York to separate Carl and Clarence Aguirre.

In a statement, the medical term said the operation had gone "beautifully" and the twins were resting in the pediatric critical care unit.

The doctors opened a cranial "window" allowing access to the mass of shared vessels carrying blood to and from the twins' brains.

As well as tying and separating crucial blood vessels, the surgeons pushed the brains slightly apart in preparation for the later stages of the overall procedure.

Instead of performing one lengthy operation, the medical team at the hospital has decided to conduct the separation over the course of as many as four shorter operations.

The first surgery took place one month ago with a five-hour operation to place balloons underneath the boys' scalps in a process called tissue expansion.

The goal was to inflate the balloons gradually with sterile saline, thereby stretching and expanding the skin and scalp. The hope is that enough skin will be available to cover the twins' brains after final separation.

The final separation surgery could take place early next year.

The operation on the Filipino twins was requested by their mother Arlene, a registered nurse who expressed her desire to have them separated so they will have an opportunity to lead independent lives.

According to a spokeswoman, Arlene Aguirre spent a few extra minutes "kissing and playing with her sons" before Monday's operation began.

Doctors considered the separation medically necessary for the twins, who have already suffered from aspiration pneumonia -- resulting from food becoming trapped in their respiratory systems -- and other medical challenges as a result of their current condition.

Conjoined twins occur in approximately one of every 200,000 live births. Twins joined at the head are extremely rare -- representing roughly one in 10 million live births.

25/11/2003

Bron : Yahoo News

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