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Ground-breaking operation successfully separates conjoined twins who shared fused brains

Conjoined twins , Bernardo and Arthur Lima after the operation – Image Gemini Untwining

A ground-breaking operation has successfully separated conjoined twins with surgeons from Brazil undertaking the operation under the guidance of UK-based Paediatric Surgeon Noor ul Owase Jeelani from London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital.

The operation, successfully completed on Monday, August 1 after 33 hours of surgery time and the involvement of more than 100 medical staff.

The three-year-old boys, Bernardo and Arthur Lima, underwent seven operations the longest of which lasted 33 hours.

Given the complexity of the operation, surgeons Mr Jeelani and Dr Gabriel Mufarrej, Head of Paediatric Surgery at Instituto Estadual do Cerebro Paulo Niemeyer, spent months using virtual reality to test various techniques before undertaking the highly risky surgery.

The operation made possible by donations from Gemini Untwined and members of the public was described by Jeelani as a “remarkable achievement.”

He told Sky News: “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.

“Not only have we provided a new future for the boys and their family, but we have also 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.

“This is only possible through generous donations from members of the public.”

The boys have been looked after by staff at the hospital for more than two and a half years, with one carer Gabriel Mufarrej saying their surgery will be “life-changing.”

Conjoined twins with Surgeon Noor ul Owase Jeelani with Bernardo (left) and Arthur, and parents Adriely and Antonia Lima – Image Gemini Untwined

He said: “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 had become part of our family here in the hospital.

“We are delighted that the surgery went so well and the boys and their family have had such a life-changing outcome.”

Gemini Untwined was founded by Jaleeni to raise funds to cover the cost of separating twins conjoined at the head (craniopagus twins).

The twins are the oldest with fused brains to be separated in an operation many did not think possible. Both are said to be recovering well and will now be supported with more than six months of rehabilitation.

Both twins are recovering well in hospital and will be supported with six months of rehabilitation, the charity has said.

Craniopagus children are fairly rare accounting for less than five per cent of conjoined twins (60,000 a year) according to the charity.

The ground-breaking operation that successfully separated conjoined twins who shared fused brains, is a testament to the dedication of doctors and an indication of just how far medicine has progressed in recent years.


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