The twin girls, who are joined at the head, will reach another milestone in less than two weeks. The doctors have set the date for their separation surgery for Monday, Aug. 5. The surgery is expected to last approximately 10 hours and will involve more than 50 medical staff, including neurosurgeons, plastic and reconstructive surgeons, anesthesiologists, and nursing support staff.
"Based on our diagnostic test findings and multiple planning meetings with all of the specialties involved, we feel confident that our team is ready to proceed with the separation," said Dr. Jorge Lazareff, associate professor of neurosurgery. "However, the surgery itself is only the first phase in helping the twins. We feel this process won't be complete until both girls leave the hospital with the same happy smiles that they have now."
Since the twins' arrival at UCLA on June 7, they have undergone a series of diagnostic tests, including a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), an angiogram, a computed tomography angiogram (CTA) and developmental testing.
Results showed the twins' brains appear separated by a membrane and look normal in size and structure. However, tests also showed that while each child possesses normal arteries feeding the brain, a portion of the veins draining the brain return to the other twin. If doctors can't preserve and reroute those veins normally, both twins may be at risk for stroke.
Once the doctors separate the twins, they face the challenge of covering the skull defect. On June 24 doctors surgically implanted two balloons under the babies' scalp. Since then, they've been injecting one of
Contact: Roxanne Moster
University of California - Los Angeles