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Twins Joined at Heads Are Separated

September 14, 1996|Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY — Surgeons on Friday separated Siamese twins joined at the tops of their heads, though the nearly-year-old girls who had seen each other only in the mirror still face operations to restore their skulls.

Doris and Bessy Gonzales were in stable condition after surgeons at Primary Children's Medical Center separated their skulls, blood vessels and scar tissue in a 10-hour operation. An additional 2 1/2 hours were spent grafting outer membranes over their brains.

"Right now I'm just as happy as I could be," said neurosurgeon Marion Walker, who led the 11-member medical team. "Those little girls were really blessed. A lot of people have been praying for them and I'm very grateful for that."

The Honduran-born girls could leave the hospital in a month, doctors said, although they may have learning disabilities.

At first, only skin will cover the tops of the girls' heads and they will have to wear protective helmets. In a few months, surgeons could begin restoring their skulls by grafting bone from the girls' ribs and elsewhere. That process should take two to three years.

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