Surgeons call it ‘Man-on-Mars stuff.’
In one of the most complex separation procedures ever conducted, three-year-old conjoined twins Bernardo and Arthur Lima were successfully separated by medical professionals with the help of VR technology. According to the BBC, the revolutionary procedure lasted a total of 27 hours and included seven individual surgeries involving over 100 medical staff.
In order to prepare for the complex procedure, surgeons partnered with VR engineers to develop an accurate 3D model of the twins’ anatomy using CT and MRI scans, allowing for a better perspective of their “fused brain.” Medical professionals were then able to safely experiment with different surgical techniques to identify the most effective route.
The procedure itself was conducted by surgeons in Rio de Janeiro with the assistance of professionals from Great Ormond Street Hospital in London. According to Noor ul Owase Jeelani, founder of Gemini Untwined, the charity which funded the surgery, multiple surgeons from different countries were able to work side-by-side in the same room using VR headsets.
“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 while speaking to British agency PA Media. “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.”
Following the operation, the twins showed a dramatic increase in blood pressure, but relaxed after reuniting with one another four days later. The twins are currently in good condition and receiving continued support as part of their six-month probation.
Image Credit: BBC via PA Media