Once-Conjoined Twins Return to U.S. for Checkups

Egyptian twins once joined at the head returned to Texas this week for checkups, and were treated to a pizza party Wednesday with the doctor who brought them to the United States to be separated.

Now 8, Ahmed and Mohamed Ibrahim strode down hallways and gobbled up pizza and ice cream, wearing matching gray T-shirts over yellow long-sleeved shirts. They are both enrolled in school, enjoy watching television and playing on the computer, their mother said. The boys who were born joined at the tops of their heads now sport headfuls of curly black hair. They also walk easily, though with a slightly awkward gait.

"Here they are. Sitting here now enjoying life," Dr. Kenneth Salyer said as the boys ate.

Salyer's nonprofit World Craniofacial Foundation brought the then 1-year-old boys to Dallas in 2002 to be evaluated for separation. The twins were separated the next year during a 34-hour surgery. After undergoing additional surgeries to reconstruct their skulls, they returned to Egypt in 2005. This is their second return to Dallas for checkups since going home.

On Wednesday, the boys were at the Texas Hospital for Advanced Medicine, where they got CT scans and were treated to the party. The hospital is launching a new Reconstructive Surgery Institute, founded by Salyer and set to open next year.

Salyer said that Mohamed is on target developmentally, but Ahmed is lagging behind. Both boys suffer from weakness some of their limbs, but are otherwise healthy.

The twins attend school in Cairo, where they live with their parents and siblings. Their mother, Sabah Abu el-Wafa, said that Ahmed is slower at reading and memorizing and has a hard time holding a pen.

Salyer, whose foundation pays for the boys to go to private school, said they will be looking into getting Ahmed additional tutoring.

The boys' classes are partly in English, so they can keep up the language they picked up while in the U.S.

"Our goal is to watch these two boys graduate from college," Salyer said.