Last Thursday, a team of doctors at Soroka-University Medical Center in Beersheba used the latest medical equipment and technology, including virtual reality, to successfully separate twins who were attached at their heads.
The entire procedure took 12 grueling hours, and its success is made more remarkable by the fact that it has so far been performed only about 20 times in the entire world and for the very first time in Israel.
“I am very proud of our teams, of all the specialists that engaged in this challenging and complex event,” said hospital director Dr. Shlomo Kodesh after the operation. “I wish complete healing for the twins and their family.”
Performing any operation, especially one that addresses such a serious and life-threatening condition as craniopagus (a rare congenital malformation in which twins are conjoined at the head), requires a lot of careful planning. For a long time, doctors were relying only on images and 3D models presented on 2D computer screens using 2D interaction devices.
Now, thanks to virtual reality and VR modeling solutions like Surgical Theater, doctors and patients alike can finally make simulations of the surgery and plan it in the most exact manner.
Surgical Theater started in 2010 with a simple question: What if surgeons could train like fighter pilots? Now, this first-of-its-kind immersive environment is advancing neurosurgery at some of the top academic hospitals, saving lives in the process.
The surgery itself was performed by a team of 50 medical professionals, including neurosurgery, plastic surgery, pediatric anesthesia, pediatric intensive care, and brain-imaging specialists. Once the twins were separated, two teams were formed, each focusing on one twin and operating in a dedicated operating room.
Hopefully, successful applications of virtual reality in the healthcare sector will motivate more tech entrepreneurs to come up with other innovative solutions capable of improving surgery outcomes.