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Surgeons perform skin expansion procedure on conjoined twins at UCLA's Mattel Children's Hospital

s of the scalp, where hair growth makes it difficult to replace lost tissue with skin from elsewhere on the body. Even after stretching, skin from the scalp retains its ability to generate natural hair growth. In addition, the skin is less likely to die because it remains connected to the scalp's own blood and nerve supply.

As in any surgery, skin expansion carries some risks related to infection, skin deterioration and breakage or leaking of the balloon. However, Kawamoto said, these risks are outweighed by the more serious consequences of approaching the twins' separation surgery without enough tissue to cover the infants' brains.

The Quiej-Alvarez twins were born in a small hospital in Guatemala on July 25, 2001. The hospital contacted the Guatemalan Pediatric Foundation, which contacted Healing the Children, a nonprofit group that helps find medical care for children in underdeveloped countries. The organization approached UCLA pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Jorge Lazareff, one of their volunteer physicians, for aid in accepting the twins' cases. Lazareff and Kawamoto are leading the team of UCLA physicians, nurses and medical staff who will treat the twins. The twins arrived in Los Angeles with their mother, Leticia Alba Quiej-Alvarez, on June 7.


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Contact: Roxanne Moster
roxannem@support.ucla.edu
310-794-0777
University of California - Los Angeles
24-Jun-2002


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