Siamese twins were successfully separated in Brazil. Doctors trained in virtual reality

Anhelina Sheremet

In Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, doctors trained in virtual reality successfully separated conjoined twins who were joined at the head.

This is reported by the BBC.

The patients are Bernardo and Arthur Lima, almost four years old, and they are the oldest conjoined craniopagus twins who were separated. The twins underwent seven surgeries, with the last one alone taking more than 27 hours, and nearly 100 medical professionals. Their anatomy was complicated by scar tissue.

The operation was led by British surgeon Gabriel Mufarrej and his Brazilian colleague Noor ul Owase Jilani. They spent months testing methods using virtual reality before actually operating on the boys. This is the first time surgeons in different countries have worn headsets and worked together in the same virtual reality room.

“Itʼs incredible to see the anatomy and do the surgery before actually putting children at risk. [...] These operations are considered the most difficult in our time, and doing them in virtual reality was simply a real Martian thing," said surgeon Jilani.

He added that, like all conjoined twins after being separated, the boysʼ blood pressure and heart rate were "through the roof" — until they were reunited four days later and held hands. The twins are recovering well in the hospital, and six months of rehabilitation await them.

According to the charity Gemini Untwined, which funded the operation, it was one of the most difficult separation processes.