The Little Marias
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myriad instruments, the medical team works in coordinated fashion
on the girls' separation.
the remaining scalp, the team puts it through a special process,
making cuts in the skin so it can be opened like a net stocking.
"In this way, we are able to triple the amount of material
we have," Kawamoto says. (On June 24, Kawamoto and his team
had implanted two balloons into the twins' scalp that would, over
time, slowly be filled with saline to help the girls grow more skin.
A minor tear in the thin scalp forced doctors to remove one of the
balloons, which made planning more complicated and delayed the surgery,
but did not otherwise affect the outcome, Kawamoto says.)
what we saw in the operating room, we hope we have two normal girls,"
Kawamoto says later. "They're going to have funny haircuts,
but that's probably no different than some of the undergraduates
here at UCLA."
the 22-hour surgery, the twins are side by side, in separate
beds, for the first time.
5:40 a.m., August 6, more than 22 hours after they first entered
the OR, the girls, their heads swaddled in dense, white bandages,
are wheeled into the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, or PICU, where
a whole new group of doctors, nurses and medical staff take over
the PICU team begins monitoring the girls, some of the hours-long
tension starts to fall away. Anesthesiologist Van de Wiele, who
had kept a serious demeanor throughout the surgery, unveils an enormous
smile. "Look!" she says, gesturing to one of the girls'
beds and then the other. "I want to see the before and after,"
she adds, and then heads to a nearby computer to pull up photos
of the twins posted on the Internet.
was just so amazed when we got to the PICU and saw them side by
side in separate beds," Van de Wiele says. "It was so
extraordinary, I had to go do a reality check."