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Egyptian Twins Are Separated

October 13, 2003|From Associated Press

DALLAS — Two-year-old Egyptian twins joined at the top of their heads were separated Sunday but face a long recovery after the marathon surgery that began a day earlier and took more than a year of planning.

News of the successful separation of Ahmed and Mohamed Ibrahim overjoyed their parents, surgeons and caregivers.

"At one point, when someone came up and said, 'You have two boys,' the father jumped to my neck and he hugged me and he fainted and I cared for him," said Dr. Nasser Abdel Al, who was one of the twins' doctors in Egypt. "The mother, on the other hand, was crying like everybody else. She was there thanking everybody around and thanking her faith that brought her to this great place -- Dallas, Texas."

As surgeons worked to close the boys' head wounds, part of the medical team at Children's Medical Center of Dallas talked Sunday about the surgery.

Ahmed and Mohamed, who had an intricate connection of blood vessels but separate brains, were separated about 26 hours into the operation. Doctors then went to work covering the head wounds. The entire surgery took 34 hours.

The twins were listed in critical but stable condition, and doctors said the surgery went according to plan. Concerns now include the risk of infection and how the wounds will heal.

Dr. Kenneth Salyer, a craniofacial surgeon who founded the World Craniofacial Foundation, which brought the boys to Dallas, said his feelings had ranged "from moments of ecstasy to moments of anxiety."

Dr. Dale Swift, a pediatric neurosurgeon, said it was too early to tell if the boys would have neurological damage.

The boys will remain in a drug-induced coma for three to five days. Both will need additional reconstructive surgery in coming years.

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