Practice makes perfect, especially when it comes to life-saving procedures that deal with extreme edge cases like separating conjoined twins. Now a UK-Brazilian team have done just that, which is thanks to detailed planning sessions which allowed the surgical team to model and rehearse the operation in VR from two different continents.

As reported by BBC News, three-year-olds Bernardo and Arthur Lima were born conjoined at the cranium, also know as craniopagus twins.

Now, after seven surgeries, the boys have effectively become the oldest craniopagus twins to have been separated, a process which concluded in a final surgery that lasted 27 hours and involved around 100 medical staff.

Bernardo and Arthur Lima before separation | Image courtesy PA, BBC News

The operation was carried out in Rio de Janeiro with direction from Great Ormond Street Hospital in London.

The planning stage took place over a six-month period which, lead by UK surgeon Dr. Noor ul Owase Jeelani, incorporated models of the twins based on CT and MRI scans which were imported into a program that allowed the Brazilian and UK teams to collaborate in real-time via VR headsets.

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“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 Dr. Jeelani.

Bernardo and Arthur Lima after separation | Image courtesy PA, BBC News

Gemini Untwined, the charity founded by Dr. Jeelani, dubbed it “one of the most complex separation processes ever completed.”

“It’s a near impossible task [separating craniopagus twins] that requires a lot of thinking, a lot of planning, and when the final execution happens and you end up with two live kids that are making a good recovery is a great experience.” Dr. Jeelani said in a BBC interview.

Arthur and Bernardo will be celebrating their 4th birthday next month, and are making what Dr. Jeelani says is “an excellent recovery.”

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Well before the first modern XR products hit the market, Scott recognized the potential of the technology and set out to understand and document its growth. He has been professionally reporting on the space for nearly a decade as Editor at Road to VR, authoring more than 4,000 articles on the topic. Scott brings that seasoned insight to his reporting from major industry events across the globe.
  • ViRGiN

    when the article about (FAKE!) steam hardware survey for the month of july 2022 is coming out?
    looking at those stats, it seems like an insane pcvr growth. growth that is NOWHERE to be seen outside valve bubble.

    • NoLIFeViRGiN

      I was wondering what kind of toxic waste you would manage to spew
      about this amazing topic. But I guess even you couldn’t find something
      bad to say about VR helping to save a life.

      • ViRGiN

        you sound like you benefited from this rare conjoined twin surgery yourself, that’s cool

      • NotMikeD

        Haha, nope, he just managed to find something bad to say about you personally!

    • sebrk

      Wait… THIS is how you spend your time? Being angry at a hardware survey from your moms basement?

      What a sad reality some people live in. Jeez

      • ViRGiN

        wait, did you just fed the troll and got extremely triggered over someones opinion on the internet?

        • sebrk

          At least I gave the basement virgin a bit of social interaction in his otherwise sad life.

          • ViRGiN

            awesome. when i grow up, i hope to turn out just like you.

          • Black Sabbath’s Ozzy Osbourne


  • bluetoothbday

    In 10 years vr will revolutionize education, so happy that I got to be early adapter of new technology medium like my parents were in the 90s.