In a groundbreaking operation that made use of virtual reality and lasted for 27 hours, three-year-old conjoined twins were successfully separated…

In Brazil, a set of conjoined twins were successfully separated with the use of a groundbreaking process that required the participation of over one hundred medical professionals and the use of virtual reality operating rooms.

On August 1, 2022, a charity group called Gemini Untwined that specializes in the research and treatment of craniopagus twins made the announcement that they had successfully completed a challenging surgery to separate Bernardo and Arthur Lima, who were three years old at the time.

According to the charitable organization, the boys’ heads were fused together when they were born, making it dangerous to separate them since they “shared vital veins in the brain.”

Additionally, Arthur and Bernardo were the oldest craniopagus twins with fused brains to be separated at roughly 4 years old, which brought an additional layer of complexity to the situation.

The Instituto Estadual do Cérebro Paulo Niemeyer in Rio de Janeiro, which has been responsible for the twins’ care since 2018, reached out to the nonprofit organization for assistance after receiving many assurances that it would be physically impossible to split the twins apart.

A pediatric surgeon at Great Ormond Street Hospital named Noor Owase Jeelani served as the team leader for a group of medical professionals who came from all over the globe to help with the charity’s sophisticated sequence of surgical procedures.

During the period of time leading up to the operation, the medical team used what Jeelani referred to as “space-age stuff” to replicate a “trial surgery done across continents in virtual reality” by employing CT and MRI scans as the primary diagnostic tools.

“These procedures are some of the most challenging of our time,” Jeelani said, “and to perform it in virtual reality was really truly man-on-Mars stuff.”

The last surgery, which Jeelani had in Brazil, lasted for 27 hours, and the only breaks she received were 15-minute long and consisted of her receiving food and drink. After the therapy, she was “very devastated,” but it was “wonderful” to witness how happy the rest of the family was in the end.

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