Siamese twins were separated with the help of Virtual Reality

Deepak Gupta August 2, 2022
Updated 2022/08/02 at 11:30 AM

Once again, let’s get to know a successful case that combined medicine with technology. In this case, directly from Brazil, two conjoined twins were separated using the help of Virtual Reality (VR).

The surgery was a success and the twins are currently in the hospital, recovering well.




Bernardo and Arthur Lima were born joined at the head. Now, at the age of three, they were operated on in Rio de Janeiro, with a team guided by the Great Ormond Street Hospital, In London. The two twins were finally separated with the help of VR.

After several months of testing techniques with projections based on CT scans and MRIs, the doctors were able to carry out a procedure described by the surgeon. Noor ul Owase Jeelani as "space age stuff".

According to BBC News, citing the institution that financed the operation, Gemini Untwined, this was one of the most complex Siamese separation processes ever completed. According to founder Noor ul Owase Jeelani, for the first time, surgeons from different countries wore headphones and operated together in the same VR room.

Noor ul Owase Jeelani with Bernardo (left) and Arthur, and parents Adriely and Antonia Lima

In total, Bernardo and Arthur underwent seven surgeries lasting more than 27 hours, involving almost 100 medical professionals.

It's just wonderful. It's really fantastic to see the anatomy and do the surgery before actually putting children at any risk.

You can imagine how comforting this is for surgeons.

In some ways, these operations are considered the most difficult of our time, and doing it in VR is truly out of this world.

Jeelani shared, adding that previous attempts were unsuccessful because the conjoined twins' anatomy was complicated due to scar tissue, and admitting that he was "really apprehensive" about the VR procedure.

Surgeons in Rio de Janeiro during the procedure

Surgeons in Rio de Janeiro during the procedure

At the moment, the twins are in the hospital, recovering well, awaiting six months of rehabilitation.

According to BBC News, This was surgeon Noor ul Owase Jeelani's sixth separation from Gemini Untwined, after having operated on twins from Pakistan, Sudan, Israel and Turkey. The surgeon led this procedure together with the head of pediatric surgery at the Instituto Estadual do Cérebro Paulo Niemeyer, in Brazil, Gabriel Mufarrej.

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