Virtual reality allows surgeons into the hearts of conjoined twins

Healthcare is just beginning to realize the potential of virtual reality, but for two conjoined sisters in Minnesota, the technology couldn't have done more. Paisleigh and Paislyn Martinez survived a highly risky nine-hour surgery to separate the two who were attached in the chest and torso areas.

The Washington Post laid out how doctors were able to practice for the surgery and familiarize themselves with the sisters' hearts using virtual reality. Wearing the goggles, they could inspect a model of the hearts—and they could even enlarge the images so it was as if they were standing inside the heart structures.

“In our line of work—especially in pediatric cardiac surgery—it’s important that one is able to think on their feet and plan for the unexpected,” said Anthony Azakie, chief of pediatric cardiac surgery and co-director of the Heart Center at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital . “The imaging helped us prepare by developing an approach in the event that we came across something we didn’t expect.”

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