Brazilian twins who were joined at the head have been successfully separated with the help of virtual reality says BBC.
- Conjoined twins from Brazil undergo surgery.
- Successfully separated via Virtual Reality.
Three-year-olds Bernardo and Arthur Lima underwent surgeries in Rio de Janeiro. This was with direction from Great Ormond Street Hospital in London. The teams spent months trialling techniques using virtual reality projections of the twins, based on CT and MRI scans. It was described by surgeon Noor ul Owase Jeelani as “space-age stuff”. It was one of the most complex separation processes ever completed, according to the charity which funded it – Gemini Untwined – which Mr Jeelani founded in 2018. He said that, for the first time, surgeons in separate countries wore headsets and operated in the same “virtual reality room” together. The twins had seven surgeries, involving more than 27 hours of operating time in the final operation alone, and almost 100 medical staff.
“In some ways, these operations are considered the hardest of our time, and to do it in virtual reality was just really man-on-Mars stuff,” said Mr Jeelani. He said he was “absolutely shattered” after the 27-hour operation, where he took only four 15-minute breaks for food and water. He added that as with all conjoined twins after separation, the boys’ blood pressures and heart rates were “through the roof” – until they were reunited four days later and touched hands. The twins are recovering well in hospital and will be supported with six months of rehabilitation.
“Since the parents of the boys came from their home in the Roraima region to Rio to seek our help two-and-a-half years ago, they have become part of our family here in the hospital. We are delighted that the surgery went so well.”
These surgeries are absolutely life-changing. Bernardo and Arthur, at four, are the oldest craniopagus twins. According to the charity, one in 60,000 births results in conjoined twins, and only 5% of those are craniopagus.
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