Operation to Separate Twins on Track
Byline: Hugh Aynesworth, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
DALLAS - A delicate operation to separate 2-year-old conjoined twins from Egypt was proceeding on schedule and without serious incident yesterday.
"Everything is going fine. There have been no problems," Dr. Jim Thomas, chief of critical care services at Children's Medical Center, said during an afternoon news briefing. A minor respiratory problem had stopped the operation briefly, he said, but it was of no particular threat to the procedure.
Ahmed and Mohamed Ibrahim, connected at the crowns of their heads, were wheeled into surgery shortly after 9 a.m. The operation was expected to last anywhere from 30 to 90 hours.
The twins have been in Dallas for more than a year, as doctors and ethicists studied their unusual situation and considered whether to attempt to separate them.
A team of about 75 surgeons, anesthesiologists and nurses began preoperative work. By mid-afternoon, they had positioned the tiny patients in a comfortable, accessible position and reportedly had removed much of the expander tissue around the boys' heads - tissue sewn there in August to allow the boys to grow enough extra skin to cover the wounds created by the operation.
Dr. Thomas said much of the morning was spent in the positioning of the two. The patients lay on a specially built operating table, which after the cutting and restoring of several blood vessels, will be moved apart so the surgeons can finish simultaneously.
"Once [the boys were] positioned this morning," Dr. Thomas said, "one of the anesthesiologists had some questions about Ahmed's pulmonary function."
The medical team stopped the operation when they noticed mucus was partially plugging a tube designed to help Ahmed breathe during the surgery, he said, but it was removed quickly. …