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Biomodels Aid Surgical Separation of Conjoined Twins


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A case study about how anatomical models created from medical scan data assisted UCLA surgeons separate twins who were joined at the head.

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Biomodels Aid Surgical Separation of Conjoined Twins

  1. 1. Biomedical Modeling, Inc. 1Biomedical Modeling, Inc. ♦ 2013 Crispin B. Weinberg, Ph.D. | President Danice Y. Chou, B.S. | Biomedical Engineer Biomedical Modeling, Inc. | Biomodels Aid the Separation of Conjoined Twins
  2. 2. Biomedical Modeling, Inc. 2 Who are we? Biomedical Modeling, Inc. is a Boston-based anatomical engineering company. We make patient-specific anatomical models from medical imaging data (CT, MRI, etc.) for dental , medical, and engineering applications.
  3. 3. Biomedical Modeling, Inc. 3 One of our most famous cases was our involvement in the surgical separation of the Alvarez twins from Guatemala, who were conjoined at the head. What do we do?
  4. 4. Biomedical Modeling, Inc. 4 Starting from CT scans, we made biomodels of their skulls and shared brain vasculature to give the surgeons at UCLA better understanding of their anatomy. What do we do?
  5. 5. Biomedical Modeling, Inc. 5 Why do we do it? Our biomodels helped a team of surgeons visualize the twins' pathological anatomy and communicate with one another while planning the complex surgery.
  6. 6. Biomedical Modeling, Inc. 6 Why do we do it? Over 50 medical professionals worked on the twins during the 23-hour long procedure.
  7. 7. Biomedical Modeling, Inc. 7 Why do we do it? When the girls woke up, they could see each other for the first time.
  8. 8. Biomedical Modeling, Inc. 8 Why do we do it? The lead plastic-surgeon valued our models so much, he called us right after the surgery to thank us for our contribution. “It went off like we planned it. That was really such a great feeling.” "No matter how good our 3D graphics are, there is nothing like a model in your hands that one can actually play with." Henry K. Kawamoto, Jr. MD, DDS, FACS UCLA Medical School
  9. 9. Biomedical Modeling, Inc. 9 With a successful surgery, the twins defied the odds against survival. Why do we do it? Their story has inspired hope and has helped to raise funds to bring medical treatment to children from underdeveloped countries.
  10. 10. Biomedical Modeling, Inc. 10 Visit our website at, or watch our video about the twins' separation: For more information