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Doctor: Twins doing 'extremely well'

Ahmed and Mohamed Ibrahim were two of the about 2 percent of conjoined twins who are connected head-to-head.

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The two formerly conjoined twin boys are recovering well.
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CNN's Alphonso Van Marsh reports that the separated twins have a long road to recovery.
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Conjoined twins
Ahmed and Mohamed Ibrahim

DALLAS, Texas (CNN) -- Formerly conjoined twins Ahmed and Mohamed Ibrahim remained in critical but stable condition Tuesday, but doctors say that so far the brothers have been making remarkable progress.

"All of us who are caring for the boys believe they are continuing to do extremely well," Dr. James Thomas, director of critical care at Children's Medical Center, said Tuesday.

All of their organ systems were functioning well, but, he cautioned, the twins remain at significant risk for infection following the 34-hour procedure that ended Sunday. The possible formation of blood clots that could lead to strokes also has been a concern.

The 2-year-old Egyptian boys, whose heads had been joined since birth, will have more tests late Tuesday, Thomas said. If the results are promising, doctors on Wednesday will begin to lighten the drug-induced comas the boys have been in since the surgery.

The comas have helped limit post-operative swelling of their brains, which doctors separated as part of the operation.

Tests earlier this week showed few complications, keeping doctors cautiously optimistic, but Thomas said there is no definite timeline for the twins' recovery.

"Things have gone really well until now, but they could plateau," Thomas said. "And we might not see progress."

Ahmed and Mohamed are in separate rooms in special beds that levitate them on a cushion of air to prevent bedsores and limit the risk of infection. Visitors, mostly family members, can visit two at a time.

"The family is spending a lot of time at the boys' bedsides and smiling more freely this morning," Thomas said.

Before the operation, doctors put tissue expanders in each thigh of both boys to create extra skin they could use to cover the wounds created during the separation. No attempt was made to replace the boys' craniums, though that could be done at a later time.

The boys were born about 500 miles south of Cairo. The World Craniofacial Foundation helped organize the endeavor and paid their way to Dallas. The foundation has raised $125,000 for the separation surgery, which could cost $2 million, according to the group's Web site. The hospital and medical team are donating their services, the foundation said.

The twins' deformity, called craniopagus twinning, occurs in one in 10 million births, according to the foundation. About 2 percent of conjoined twins are connected head-to-head.

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