It was a surgical miracle in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, as doctors successfully separated conjoined twins that were connected in the head.
According to Fantastico: “[The] twin brothers were born joined at the head and shared 15% of the brain and important vein that carried blood back to the hearts.”
The operations took place under the direction of the Great Ormond Street Hospital surgeon Noor Ul Owase Jeelani. The conjoined twins are 3-year-old Bernardo and Arthur Lima. They were born with fused brains and have been under the care of the hospital for over two years.
Before the successful separation of the twins, they underwent about seven surgeries that lasted for 33 hours. The surgeons spent several months studying how best to carry out the operation using virtual reality before conducting the actual surgeries. The team of medical experts was headed by Mr. Jeelani and Dr. Gabriel Mufarrej, the head of Surgery at Instituto Estadual do Cerebro Paulo Niemeyer.
At almost four years of age, Bernado and Arthur are the oldest twins with a fused brain (craniopagus twins) to be separated.
Dr. Mufarrej said the hospital has been caring for the boys for two-and-a-half years and that the twins have become parts of their family.
“Since the parents of the boys came from their home in the Roraima region to Rio to seek our help two-and-a-half years ago, they have become part of our family here in the hospital. We are delighted that the surgery went so well,” Dr. Mufarrej said.
Mr. Jeelani described the success of the surgeries as “a remarkable achievement.
“The successful separation of Bernardo and Arthur is a remarkable achievement by the team in Rio and a fantastic example of why the work of Gemini Untwined is so valuable,” Jeelani said. “Not only have we provided a new future for the boys and their families, we have equipped the local team with the capabilities and confidence to undertake such complex work successfully again in the future.”
“It is through this process of teamwork and knowledge-sharing globally that we can hope to improve the outcome for all children and families that find themselves in this difficult position,” he added.
Mr. Jeelani added that the success was only recorded because of the “generous donations from members of the public.”
All expenses of the surgery were covered by Gemini untwined. It is a charity organization that is headed by Mr. Jeelani. The separation of Arthur and Bernado marks the sixth successful separation of conjoined twins by the charity organization.
“We have now successfully helped separate six sets of twins, the most amount any one organization has been involved in,” Gemini untwined tweeted.
“Arthur and Bernardo will finally be able to share their fourth birthday as separated twins. “Our heart is full of gratitude”, the emotional words of their mother,” another tweet added.
Mr. Jeelani admitted the complexity of the surgeries, describing them as “the hardest of our time” and “to do it in virtual reality was just really man-on-Mars stuff. He, however, admitted the success was reassuring for the surgeons.
“You can imagine how reassuring that is for the surgeons,” Mr. Jeelani continued.
According to Gemini untwined, one in 60,000 births results in conjoined twins, and only 5% of those have connected brains.