A slight infection forced surgeons to temporarily remove tissue expanders that had been placed beneath the scalp of conjoined twins from the Philippines.

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However, the removal “will not impact our long-term plans” for separating 18-month-old Carl and Clarence Aguirre, Dr. David Staffenberg, chief of pediatric plastic surgery at Montefiore Medical Center’s children’s hospital in the Bronx, said Monday.

The boys are joined at the tops of their heads.

The expanders were inserted Oct. 21 during the first of what were planned as three or four operations climaxing with the boys’ separation. The expanders are intended to gradually stretch the twins’ skin so there will be enough to cover both heads when they are separated.

Doctors at Montefiore removed the expanders after noticing liquid collecting around the plastic expander pouches, said hospital spokesman Steve Osborne.

The brothers were “fine” afterward, Osborne said.

The twins’ next operation is tentatively set for later this month, but the schedule will be determined by the boys’ conditions, Dr. James Goodrich, the hospital’s director of pediatric neurosurgery, said in a statement.

Two-year-old twin boys from Egypt who were separated in one 34-hour operation that ended Oct. 12 were upgraded to good condition last week at Children’s Medical Center in Dallas.

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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