Embargoed to 0700 Monday August 1 Undated handout photo issued by Gemini Untwined of Brazilian twins Bernardo (top) and Arthur Lima who have successfully separated. Issue date: Monday August 1, 2022.

Conjoined twins who shared fused brains have been successfully separated after 33 hours of operations.

Bernardo and Arthur Lima underwent several surgeries in Rio de Janeiro, under the direction of UK-based pediatric surgeon Noor ul Owase Jeelani from London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital.

The three-year-old boys had a total of seven operations, involving more than 33 hours of operating time in the final two surgeries alone, and almost 100 medical staff were involved.

Surgeons spent months trialling techniques using virtual reality before starting the real procedures.

Their surgery was led by Mr Jeelani, alongside Dr Gabriel Mufarrej, head of pediatric surgery at Instituto Estadual do Cerebro Paulo Niemeyer.

Mr Jeelani described the operation as a “remarkable achievement” by medics, but added the charity, Gemini Untwined, relies on public donations to keep its work going.

He said: “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 families, 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.

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

Embargoed to 0700 Monday August 1 Undated handout photo issued by Gemini Untwined of Noor ul Owase Jeelani with Bernardo (left) and Arthur, and parents Adriely and Antonia Lima.  Issue date: Monday August 1, 2022.
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Surgeon Noor ul Owase Jeelani with Bernardo (left) and Arthur, and parents Adriely and Antonia Lima. Pic: Gemini Untwined

Life-changing

Gabriel Mufarrej said the hospital where he works had been caring for the boys for two and a half years, and their surgery will be “life-changing”.

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 families have had such a life-changing outcome.”

An exterior view shows the main entrance of Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, Tuesday, July 18, 2017. American doctor Dr.  Michio Hirano of Columbia University, who specializes in treating rare genetic conditions, is meeting on Monday and Tuesday with other specialists at the hospital treating Charlie Gard, assessing the critically ill 11-month-old for the first time.  The parents have fought in court for permission to take the child to the United States for treatment.  (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)....
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Great Ormond Street Hospital, which assisted in the procedure, is a world-renowned pediatric center

Their work was supported by Gemini Untwined, a charity founded by Mr Jaleeni to raise funds for siblings born joined at the head – called craniopagus twins.

Freeing Bernardo and Arthur from each other was one of the most complex separation processes ever completed, and many surgeons did not think it would be possible, according to the charity.

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.

According to Gemini figures, one in 60,000 births result in conjoined twins, and only 5% of these are craniopagus children.

By ll07v

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