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Montefiore in the News

August 4, 2006

Formerly Conjoined Twins Out and About in Scarsdale

New York City, NY (August 4, 2006) — Formerly conjoined Filipino twins Carl and Clarence Aguirre marked the second anniversary of their historic separation surgery with a party at their home. 

"It was amazing to see the two up and running about," said James Goodrich, MD, director of pediatric neurosurgery at The Children's Hospital at Montefiore, who performed the surgery along with David Staffenberg, MD, chief of pediatric plastic and reconstructive surgery.  "When I came to the door Clarence said to me, 'How are you doing doctor?'  It nearly knocked me off my feet!"

The boys, who arrived in the U.S. in September 2003, underwent a series of four operations.  The final historic surgery took place on August 4 and 5, 2004.  It was the first fully successful separation of twins joined at the tops of their heads.

Doctors are now determining when to do reconstructive work on their skulls to cover areas remaining without protective bone structure.  No decisions have been made when that will take place.

"While I plan for Carl's and Clarence's skull reconstruction, I am in awe of this new family that was born from the successful staged separation surgery," said Dr. Staffenberg. "Arlene now has the same headaches that other moms have, so different from the worries she had over two years ago.  She now worries about getting her boys to sleep, getting them up, getting them off to school.  Imagine the joy of seeing them run around restaurants to say hello to all the other kids their age." 

"This is a miracle that few of us can ever truly fully appreciate, a miracle in which even fewer of us had the honor to be involved," Dr. Stafffenberg said.

"Both boys continue to do remarkably well, reaching new milestones each month," Dr. Goodrich added.  "They have become quite independent.  At this point Blythedale Children's Hospital feels that Clarence no longer needs physical therapy.  He is functioning at his proper age level, and Carl is not far behind."

The boys and their mother Arlene have been living in a private home in Scarsdale, New York, provided by Westchester County.