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Surgery to Separate Twins Starts

September 14, 1996|Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY — Doctors on Friday began separating twins joined at the tops of their heads, performing the surgery 10 days earlier than planned after tests showed the baby girls' blood pressure was unstable.

Doris and Bessy Gonzales' surgery had been planned for Sept. 23, the Honduran girls' first birthday.

The girls' mother, Doris Gonzales Quiroz, kissed them each on the forehead before they were wheeled into the operating room. The surgery, attended by eight physicians, began before noon and was expected to last at least 12 hours.

Five previous operations have been performed to separate thousands of blood vessels and a portion of brain tissue shared by the babies. Friday's operation was to separate the skulls and scar tissue from previous operations, and graft outer membranes over their brains.

The girls lie on their backs, head to head, preventing them from learning to sit up, crawl or roll over. Nurses and therapists play with them daily, having them grab toys suspended from a rope over their bed and look at each other in a mirror.

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