Twins Arthur and Bernardo Lima joined at the head and have been successfully separated with the help of an operation in Brazil.
The boys, aged three, born with fused brains, went through many operations under the direction of Great Ormond Street Hospital paediatric surgeon Noor ul Owase Jeelani.
They underwent seven surgical operations, involving over 27 hours of operating time during the final operation and 100 with 100 people of medical staff.
It was one of the most complicated separation procedures ever completed, as per the charity that funded the operation and founded in 2018 by Noor ul Owase Jeelani – Gemini Untwined.
Time Magazine ranked Dr Jeelani among the top 100 surgeons in the United Kingdom in 2011 and the top 100 paediatric specialists in the UK in 2012.
This operation was Dr Jeelani’s 6th separation process with Gemini Untwined after he operated on twins from Pakistan, Israel, Sudan and Turkey earlier.
Surgeons in Rio and London spent months trialling methods using reality projections of the twins as per CT and MRI scans, which Dr Jeelani described as ‘space-age stuff’.
He stated that it was a one-of-its-kind experience in the world when surgeons from different nations wore headsets and operated concurrently in the similar virtual reality room.
While talking about the VR aspect of the surgery, Dr Jeelani stated that it is great to see the anatomy and perform the surgery before actually putting the children at any risk.
“In some forms, these operations are deemed the hardest of our time, and to do it in virtual existence was just man-on-Mars stuff.”
He added that earlier unsuccessful attempts to separate the boys meant their anatomy was complicated due to scar tissue, and he worried about the risky process.
Dr Jeelani stated that he was completely shattered after the long 27-hour surgery, where he took just four breaks of 15 minutes for food and water. Still, it was great to see the family feeling wonderful after the success of the surgery.
He said that, as with all conjoined twins after their separation, the blood pressure of the boys and heart rates were very high till they were reunited after four days and their hands touched each other.
Dr Jeelani stated they were recovering well.