Rare set of conjoined twins, joined at the skull, Clarence and Carl Aguirre, were separated ten years ago in a series of operations that proved to be a huge success at Montefiore Medical Center in Bronx.
The twins turned 12 in April and will be celebrating their anniversary of the success of their surgery on August 4 at Montefoire. Clarence fared better after the surgery, but Carl will always suffer with disabilities.
Arlene, their mother said that she will never regret the surgery as it saved them. The family flew from Philippines to New York because the doctors had initially told her that both the boys could not be saved. Montefiore took care of all medical care and till date supports the family.
Both the boys wear helmets to protect their skulls. The adolescents attend a special educational program in Wentchester through the Board of Cooperative Educational Services.
Clarence's speech is hard to make out and he is receiving regular speech therapy in addition to services that are required to strengthen the right side of his body. He loves to go swimming and hanging out with his best friend, Hector.
Carl, suffering from a seizure disorder since the surgery, can manage with a couple of words. His communication method mainly involves his eyes and pointing. He spends his time lying down as he can manage to take only a step or two with assistance. Though his seizures have decreased, moving the left side of his body is tough for him.
The chief of pediatric neurosurgery, Dr. James pediatric neurosurgery said that the disabilities of the young boys are a result of cutting through a part of the brain that the boys shared. If the surgery hadn't taken place, the boys might not have survived their fifth birthday. He feels that their progress will continue. To fill sections of their brain, more surgery will be required and in a couple of years, the helmets protecting their skull will come off.
Since the success of the surgery of the Aguirre twins, Goodrich and Dr. David Staffenberg,a plastic surgeon has helped in 15 similar cases around the world.