3-Year-Old Conjoined Twins Successfully Separated After Incredible Virtual Reality Surgery

3-Year-Old Conjoined Twins Successfully Separated After Incredible Virtual Reality Surgery

A set of 3-year-old conjoined twins with conjoined brains have been successfully separated in a groundbreaking virtual reality surgery. Pediatric surgeon Noor ul Owasi Jeelani at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital helped with the surgery along with several other surgeons from around the world. All of them worked together using virtual reality technology.

  1. Both twins survived the surgery and are now completely separated. The charity Gemini Untwined, a global nonprofit that helps provide treatment for conjoined twins, announced on August 1 that Bernardo and Arthur Lima had survived a total of seven separate procedures at Instituto Estadual do Cerebro Paulo Niemeyer in Rio de Janeiro.
  2. In total, the surgeries took an incredible 33 hours. More than 100 medical staff were in attendance to help with the procedures. The fact that Arthur and Bernardo survived such challenging and intense surgeries is absolutely mind-blowing. Jeelani called the operation a “remarkable achievement” that took months of preparation and training on the virtual reality programs.
  3. So how did the technology work? In essence, it allowed surgeons from several different countries to be “present” in the same virtual reality room so that they could work together to complete the operation. It’s the first operation of its kind in surgical history.
  4. Jeelani wasn’t sure if it was going to work. Because past attempts to separate Arthur and Bernardo failed, Jeelani worried that this attempt might also be unsuccessful. He was overjoyed when it worked. “It’s just wonderful, it’s really great to see the anatomy and do the surgery before you actually put the children at any risk,” he said. “You can imagine how reassuring that is for the surgeons. 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.”

Jennifer Still is a writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience. The managing editor of Bolde, she has bylines in Vanity Fair, Business Insider, The New York Times, Glamour, Bon Appetit, and many more.