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VR Helped Save the Lives of Conjoined Twins

Sara Rice, Social Media Intern, Consumer Technology Association (CTA)

For decades, doctors have been using different imaging techniques, such as X-rays, to see inside the human body. Although an X-ray image is useful, it is still an imperfect tool that can have distortions or misrepresentations. Now thanks to advances in virtual reality, doctors are preparing for complicated procedures in a whole new way.

Doctors at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital were able to successfully separate twins, Paisleigh and Paislyn, who were conjoined at the heart and liver, after a nine-hour procedure. Doctors said they believe their use of VR before the surgery directly contributed to the babies’ survival.

Wearing goggle-like VR glasses, doctors were able to explore a 3D model of the twins’ hearts and discovered the twins had a dangerous heart defect that required the surgery to be performed sooner.

To create the 3D model, experts used software to turn the MRIs and CT scans from the twins into a virtual version. Doctors said that the imaging helped them develop an approach in case they came across something unexpected.

As technology advances and VR becomes more mainstream, doctors can save even more lives. Watch the video below to learn more about the surgery and preparation.