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Monday, 1 August 2022 – Brazilian twins who were born with fused brains, have been separated by surgical procedure in what may have been one of the most complex operations in history.
Conjoined twins Bernardo and Arthur Lima battled through a number of surgical procedures lasting hours on end in Rio de Janeiro, under the direction of UK paediatric surgeon Noor ul Owase Jeelani.
The boys, aged 3 years old, faced more than 33 hours of surgery in their final two procedures alone, involving almost 100 medics.
Bernardo and Arthur are now recovering almost two-and-a-half years after their parents came to the hospital for surgery.
Pictures show the brothers before and after the surgery. In one image they are seen separated on a hospital bed bandaged up and holding hands.
The surgery was led by Mr Jeelani, alongside Dr Gabriel Mufarrej, head of paediatric surgery at Instituto Estadual do Cerebro Paulo Niemeyer.
Mr Jeelani described the operation as a ‘remarkable achievement’ by medics but added that the charity relies on public donations to keep its work going.
‘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’, he said.
‘Not only have we provided a new future for the boys and their family, 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.
Their work was supported by Gemini Untwined, a charity founded by Mr Jaleeni to raise funds for siblings born joined at the head – known as craniopagus twins.
The charity suggested that separating Bernardo and Arthur was one of the most complex separation processes ever completed – and many surgeons did not even think it possible.
Since the twins are almost four years old, they are also the oldest craniopagus twins with a fused brain to have been separated.
Both twins are recovering well in hospital, and will be supported with six months of rehabilitation, the charity has said.
Before the 7 operations on the kids, surgeons spent months trying out various techniques in virtual reality before the delicate surgery took place in real life.