Bernardo and Arthur Lima, three years old, were born with their brains and skulls fused. To improve their quality of life, they underwent seven surgeries in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, under the direction of Great Ormond Street Hospital pediatric surgeon Noor ul Owase Jeelani and Dr. Gabriel Mufarrej, chief of surgery at the Instituto Estadual do Brain Paulo Niemeye.
With more than 33 hours of work and the participation of almost 100 members of the medical staff, the surgeons managed to successfully separate the twins.
Jeelani, the pediatric surgeon in charge, said that before beginning the actual procedures on the children, doctors spent months rehearsing the required techniques in the operating room using virtual reality.
The successful separation of Bernardo and Arthur is a remarkable achievement for the Rio team and a fantastic example of why the work of Gemini Untwined is so valuable. Not only have we provided a new future for the children and their families, but we have given the local team the skills and confidence to successfully carry out such complex work again in the future.
It is through this process of teamwork and global knowledge sharing that we can hope to improve outcomes for all children and families in this difficult situation. This is only possible thanks to the generous donations of citizens.
Dr Mufarrej, chief of surgery, said the hospital has been caring for the children for two and a half years and their surgery will “change their lives”.
Since the children’s parents came to us for help two and a half years ago, they have become part of our family here at the hospital. We are delighted that the operation went so well and that the children and their family had a life-changing result.
According to the medical community, separating Bernardo and Arthur was one of the most complex separation processes ever carried out, as the minors are also the oldest fused-brain twins who have been separated.
Fortunately for the twins, the operation was a success. In addition, doctors report his health as stable and will spend six months in rehabilitation.