Brazilian conjoined twins Arthur and Bernardo Lima were just separated in a historic, successful surgery that involved virtual reality. Connected through their skulls and brains until now, the 3-year-old twins were finally able to meet face to face.

As reported by the Washington Post, Arthur and Bernardo were conjoined cranially, and also connected through veins. Born to parents Adriely and Antonio Lima, the family traveled from their native Roraima so that the twins would receive the complex surgery in Rio de Janeiro.

The surgery in question was anything but run-of-the-mill: in fact, doctors from London also took part in the surgery, using virtual reality to make it possible. Brazilian neurosurgeons Dr. Paulo Niemeyer and Dr. Noor ul Owase Jeelani from London teamed up, with the latter doctor describing the procedure as “space-age stuff.” 

As per BBC, doctors spent “months” preparing for the surgery, examining the twins’ CT and MRI scans, and could practice on virtual reality models before the real thing. Dr. Jeelani explained to PA News Agency, “It’s really great to see the anatomy and do the surgery before you actually put the children at any risk.” 

He continued, “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.”

Arthur and Bernardo had scar tissue that made even Dr. Jeelani “apprehensive” about operating on them, while other people in the medical field said the surgery was impossible. However, the 27-hour surgery was successful, and was funded by Dr. Jeelani’s own charity Gemini Untwined.

The medical staff included 100 people, and used virtual reality that mapped the twins’ heads. Even though Dr. Jeelani was in London, he was “absolutely shattered” after the intense operation, which involved him only taking four 15-minute breaks in 27 hours. 

Once the surgery was completed, the family was “over the moon.”

Meanwhile, the twins were finally able to meet face-to-face for the first time, just four days after the intensive surgery. Touching hands, the two will now undergo rehabilitation for a total of six months.  

Dr. Jeelani said, the surgery is a “remarkable achievement” for the twins, their family and similar procedures in the future.