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FINAL SEPARATION NEAR FOR CONJOINED TWIN GIRLS

Lives as separate people are nearing for Bessy and Doris Gonzales, the Honduran babies who were born joined at the tops of their heads.

On Thursday, the twins underwent their fifth major operation, the next-to-last procedure needed to separate them. Once this one is over, they should be attached only by part of their skull."They are going in today to finish up work on the blood vessels, separating those that they share," said Bonnie Midget, spokeswoman for Primary Children's Medical Center.

The final operation, separating the bone, had been planned for July. However, surgeons now say the operation could be earlier, but they are uncertain about the actual date because that will depend on how fast the girls' skin grows.

Earlier this month, doctors put tissue expanders under Bessy's and Doris' scalps to stimulate skin growth. The new skin will be needed to cover the openings at the tops of their heads once they're separated.