Surgeon separates conjoined twins with fused brains in 27-hour surgery

A surgeon has succeeded in separating the brains and bodies of two conjoined twins in a marathon 27-hour surgery.

Bernardo and Arthur Lima, from Brazil, were conjoined at the head and underwent several operations in Rio de Janeiro before travelling over to London for the life-changing surgery.

British neurosurgeons at Great Ormond Street Hospital successfully separated the two, who had a fused brain, with paediatric surgeon Noor ul Owase Jeelani performing a surgery that accumulated 27 hours in total.

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Through the assistance of 100 members of medical staff, one of the most complex medical procedures ever completed, according to charity Gemini Untwined which funded the operation.

Surgeons had spent months preparing for the operation using virtual reality based on CT and MRI scans of Bernardo and Arthur, which Dr Jeelani described as "space-age stuff".

The surgeons in London and Rio de Janeiro worked together with VR headsets so they could "be in the same room as each other" despite being 6,000 miles apart.

Dr Jeelani said: "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.

"You can imagine how reassuring that is for the surgeons. 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."

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Dr Jeelani led the procedure alongside Dr Gabriel Mufarrej, the head of paediatric surgery at the Instituto Estadual do Cerebro Paulo Niemeyer in Brazil.

The operation was reportedly complicated by scar tissue from previous surgeries, but the most recent round of hospital treatment proved a successful one.

Dr Jeelani said he was "absolutely shattered" after the operation, where he only took four 15-minute breaks for food and water, and spoke fondly of seeing the family "over the moon" at the success of the surgery, MyLondon reported.

He added: "There were a lot of tears and hugs. It was wonderful to be able to help them on this journey."

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