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Twin boys survive separation surgery

2-year-olds were joined at head

NEW YORK -- Carl and Clarence Aguirre, 2-year-old twins from the Philippines who were born joined at the tops of their heads, were surgically separated last night, officials at Montefiore Medical Center said.

Doctors teased apart abutting portions of the boys' brains at 10:32 p.m. after completing an incision around their skull, said Steve Osborne, a spokesman for the Children's Hospital at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx.

The boys survived and doctors applauded, Osborne said.

The twins' head-to-head operating tables were then pulled apart slightly, said Osborne, who had been in the operating room.

The separation climaxed a gradual approach that lasted 10 months, a departure from the more common marathon operations that have separated other conjoined twins.

But yesterday's operation was more than 12 hours old when the separation took place. A network of delicate veins in the back of the boys' brains had to be isolated and separated, which slowed progress, said Montefiore spokeswoman Pamela Adkins.

Doctors planned to reconstruct a membrane that covered the boys' brains and then cover their heads with skin late last night and early today.

Reconstruction of the boys' skulls, a major project, is to be left for later.

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