VR Allows Surgeons in England to Separate Conjoined Twins in Brazil

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Virtual reality (VR) is often associated with entertainment, workplace training, and even interior design. However, there are many interesting applications for VR, including learning how to perform a complicated surgery successfully.

How VR Was Used to Separate Conjoined Twins

Born in Roraima, Brazil, Arthur and Bernardo Lima are three-year-old twins who were born craniopagus, or connected at the skull, with fused brains that shared vital veins. Their condition is rare and only occurs in four to six out of 10,000,000 births. Because of its rarity, many medical experts ruled Arthur and Bernardo’s surgery impossible.

But the twins successfully underwent separation surgery by famous Pediatric Neurosurgeon Dr. Noor ul Owase Jeelani with a team of 100 medical experts. And it was VR technology that made the surgery possible.

How VR Training Made the Surgery Possible

Dr. Jeelani of Great Ormond Street Hospital in London collaborated with doctors and medical staff from various countries to first practice the surgery using virtual reality. CT and MRI scans of the twins provided detailed imaging for the tests. Similarly, engineers, in collaboration with health workers, created 3D and virtual reality models of the twin’s brains for further study.

The training continued for months before the surgery, where doctors in different countries connected via VR headsets to practice and share insight on the procedure.

It ultimately took seven individual surgeries that lasted a total of 27 hours.

VR in Medical Applications

Using VR to train surgeons for complicated procedures has always been a favored concept. In addition, it has been shown to reassure patients who need to undergo such surgical procedures.

With consistent developments and training, experts anticipate that VR will play a key role in microsurgery and nanosurgery. The use of future microrobots and nanobots will require supervision from surgeons who have trained and have access to advanced VR equipment.

Image Credit: riopatuca / Shutterstock.com

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