Society

After Operation, Man Resembles Twin Brother (Photos)

| by Michael Howard
Gabriel and Hadin CooperGabriel and Hadin Cooper

Identical twins who looked very different from one another for 19 years finally resemble each other after one of them underwent a procedure to correct a facial deformity.

Gabriel Cooper, 19, was born with a rare condition called Pierre Robin Syndrome, which left him with an underdeveloped jaw.

As a result of his condition, Gabriel looked vastly different from his twin brother, Hadin, and he was oftentimes bullied by his peers, according to Little Things.

Gabriel said he expected the operation to give him greater confidence.

"I'm already a very happy person, but I guess it will help to make me more outgoing," he said, according to the Mirror. "I already feel more confident and it's still eight weeks until I'm fully healed."

"It's also great being in New York City, the people here are so open minded, nobody stares at me," he added. "When I was in Soho one guy thought that I just had some really cool piercings."

The boys' mother, Ramona, was given the option to terminate Gabriel when he was in the womb. She said she had to consider long and hard about what to do.

"I had to think for two months about keeping him," she said, according to the Mirror. "It wasn't that I had a problem with him being disabled, but I feared that one twin could grow to despise the other."

Now, 19 years later, Ramona has no regrets.

"The boys have had their problems but I've never regretted keeping Gabriel," she said. "He is a wonderful son."

Gabriel's operation was performed by Dr. Stephen Warren, who explained some of the surgery's details.

"Considering how complex this procedure can be, we were done within around three hours," he said. "We had to make little cuts in his jaw bone and attach a metal device which was closed by 1 millimeter each day for 30 days. This opened up and helped to lengthen his lower jaw bringing it in line with his upper jaw."

"But this is more of a treatment period than a simple surgery," Dr. Warren added. "Gabriel's jaw will now have to heal much like any broken bone. We probably won't see the full effects of the procedure for another eight weeks but I am optimistic that we have accomplished the goal to bring the jaw far enough forward."

Ramona said the effects of the surgery were noticeable straight away.

"He just seems more outgoing and is having conversations with people where he would normally just say hi and walk away," she said. "He has also lost a lot of his mannerisms, he doesn't look uncomfortable when he is in public and is embracing the change really well."

For Gabriel, the whole experience has been surreal.

"Seeing myself in the mirror feels strange," he said. "It makes everything real but it's hard for me to believe that I am now this way."

Sources: Mirror, Little Things / Photo credit: Barcroft Media via Mirror, Gabriel Cooper/Facebook via Little Things

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