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Mom celebrates successful fetal spina bifida surgery

The baby had surgery in the womb to treat spina bifida and since birth 6 weeks ago the baby was in good health and well-developed, according to the Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH). ) For kids in London

Spina bifida occurs when what’s called a neural tube, a hollow structure that begins to form during the third week of pregnancy, doesn’t develop properly and basically has a hole, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( CDC) .Later, the neural tube forms the baby’s brain and spinal cord, so the holes in the structure can cause minor to severe nerve damage and result in physical and intellectual disabilities.

Helena, a UK mother, learned that her developing baby had spina bifida during her 20th week of pregnancy.

“It was a very large incision on her back and half of her spine was exposed,”

; Helena told BBC News. Fluid from her brain later. “

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Fortunately, in 2011, a major clinical trial showed that taking action on the fetus could save them from the harmful effects of spina bifida, previously reported Live Science compared to infants with spina. Post-operative bifida people who had fetal surgery were twice as likely to walk without help by age 2 and had fewer neurological problems.

Open fetal surgery is risky because it increases the risk of miscarriage and requires the mother to have a C-section or the risk of rupturing the uterus.

“The process is complex, time sensitive and risk free. But the significant and life-changing impact on babies… and their families cannot be overstated, ”Dr. Dominic Thompson, GOSH chief neurosurgeon, said in a statement. “This made a difference in their quality of life.”

Helen’s operation involved 25 doctors from GOSH Hospital and University College London, as well as Leuven University Hospital in Belgium, where the surgery was performed, according to BBC News.

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Basically, this procedure involves giving an anesthetic to the mother, which is then passed on to the fetus, then cut through the abdomen and uterus to reach the fetal spine, according to GOSH, and then the neurosurgeon separates the skin. That is attached to the exposed spinal cord and placed into the spinal canal before the tissue is closed

Helena had surgery on the 23rd week of pregnancy and three months later she gave birth to her daughter Mila at University College London Hospital. There is still excess fluid in the newborn’s brain. But until now, Mila is showing signs of good development, according to the GOSH statement.

“She can move her legs and she can feel her toes, so it is amazing,” Helena told BBC News. Including Mila, the team has performed the same surgery on 32 babies since January 2020.

“We are very excited about the next steps in prenatal surgery for babies with bifida scoliosis, including less invasive procedures,” said Dr. Paolo de Coppi, part of the team. Fetal surgery for Bifida spine disease said in a statement.

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Since 2011, many groups have developed less invasive forms of fetal surgery that require only a small incision in the uterus and pose less of a risk to both mothers and babies, Stat News reports and some doctors. Techniques have been developed to avoid making large incisions in the uterus or in the abdomen, but in 2019 this approach is still relatively new and not widespread.

“As with any new approach, we need to understand the benefits and risks associated with mother and baby first,” De Coppi said. But what is clear is that prenatal surgery for patients with spina bifida leads to better outcomes.

Originally published in Live Science.

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