In a BBC interview, Dr. Jeelani explained that not all craniopagus twins can be separated, and they actually had to decline multiple cases before they decided to move ahead with the surgical separation of the Brazilian twins. Touted as one of the most complex surgeries ever performed, the procedure required meticulous planning and practice months in advance. According to Dr. Jeelani, the team involved in the process did commit errors as part of the test simulations, allowing them to rethink their strategy every time they hit a dead end. “All of the surgery was done in virtual reality, all the steps were taken, before we actually lifted the scalpel,” he adds.
Dr. Jeelani — a pediatric neurosurgeon who is considered a pioneer in the field of separating conjoined twins with numerous successful operations under his belt — described the latest VR-assisted endeavor as “space-age stuff” to the BBC. As the twins recover, the team will now wait for about six months following the surgery to monitor their progress and present a more accurate prognosis for the future. Talking about the journey, Dr. Jeelani told the BBC, “In some ways, these operations are considered the hardest of our time, and to do it in virtual reality was just really man-on-Mars stuff.”