The World’s First Virtual Craniotomy on Conjoined Twins Goes Successful

Rithika Biswas
Rithika Biswas August 12, 2022
Updated 2022/08/12 at 9:32 AM

Word’s first 27-hour-long Virtual Craniotomy was performed by a team of surgeons led by a Kashmiri doctor who operated on two conjoined head Brazilian twins with a very low success rate. The surgery was successful and resulted in a pair of healthy and happy twins and their parents. 

VR simulation allowed the Neurosurgeons of Brazil and London to enter the same operation theatre. This was necessary so they could practice and perfect their skills virtually and practice on a virtual projection of the twins. This very accurate virtual protection of the twins was capable due to all their CT and MRI scans. This team of doctors spend months practicing, strategizing, perfecting, and planning the surgery, fine-tuning their techniques, and making sure that everything would go smoothly during the actual operation on the twins. 

Dr. Noor ul Owase Jeelani of Kashmiri origin and his team of surgeons are responsible for the successful surgery. The conjoined twins survived a tricky surgery with a complicated procedure. The operation happened in a virtual operation theatre straddling South America and Europe. 

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A London based medical charity, Gemini Untwined were of great help to the t children’s parents in accessing the surgery, financially. This is considered ‘the most complex and challenging surgery to date as the boys shared major blood vessels. 

The team of doctors leading the Virtual Craniotomy needed to know exactly where which sub-part of their body lay and just how they were intertwined. They needed an exact picture of what was under the boy’s cranium & an elaborate plan on how to maneuver their way in and out effectively, where to make incisions and where reconstruction of tissues where needed. 

This team of certified professionals did ‘homework’. They used headsets and entered an online training session with all the other doctors. In the virtual OT, they were able to carry out dummy surgeries in virtual reality. Doctors and their teams from Brazil and London practiced, strategized & perfected their skills. This took months of trial and training. 

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The Craniopagus twins have had more than 7 previous surgeries in the span of 3 years. The surgery continued for 27 hours which continuous effort from the medical team. They only stopped for 15 minutes food and water break. 

The lead of the team, Dr. Jeelani, who practices at Great Ormond Street Hospital, UK is one of the leading surgeons of Gemini Untwinded, founded by him in 2018. He went off, describing the operation as “space – age stuff”. 

In the history of medicine, this is the first time two teams of two different countries have operated in the same virtual reality operation theatre at the same time for this Virtual Craniotomy. This is making medicine history ‘without frontiers. 

Virtual reality isn’t just about entertainment, gaming or shopping. It’s much more. It can and has been really a game changer in many industries like medicine. Technology has been a revolutionary addition to the field of medicine and it goes on to prove itself and how useful it can be in saving lives.

Virtual reality can be of great help to not only doctors but also to firefighters, pilots, police and armed forces, and even oil barach workers. 

Contrary to popular belief, the metaverse is not a place to trap people and rob them of their money, it’s a place for widening of education, healthcare, medicine, business, and unlimited access to the internet, uninterrupted thought the world. 

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3-year-old Bernado and Authur Lima have sustained a lot of scar tissues from their previous unsuccessful surgeries. The doctors were really apprehensive about separating the conjoined twins. With a low survival rate, the medical team was pleasantly surprised by the positive outcome. 

Neurosurgeon Gabriel Mufarrej of the Paulo Niemeyer State Brain Institute of Rio, where this complex procedure was carried out. He says, that twin had the most series and difficult Cranopagius with an incredibly high-risk rate for the death of both parties. 

Bernardo and Authur are the oldest craniopagus twins to be separated successfully. The boys are almost 4 years. The doctors say that “we don’t know yet to what extent they will be able to live a normal life”. 

After the surgery, the boys stayed in the hospital for 6 months. Virtual reality has to led to borderless medicine and innovations which might seem like a dream to others. 


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