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Two unborn babies with spina bifida undergo spinal repair surgery in a medical first for the UK



Surgeons have successfully repaired the spines of two unborn children in the United Kingdom weeks before their birth BBC reported

The two surgeries that were performed this summer by a team of 30 physicians in the University College Hospital in London, is the first of its kind in the UK.

The babies suffered from a condition known as spina bifida.

The condition develops during pregnancy when the unborn child's bones do not form properly. This creates a gap that leaves the spinal cord unprotected.

It can cause the baby's spinal fluid to leak and endanger the brain's development.

Spina bifida is usually treated at birth, but research has shown this. Early repair of the baby's spine can stop the loss of cerebrospinal fluid, giving the child a better chance of a better life.

During the procedure, doctors cut an opening in the mother's abdomen and then puncture the gap between the babies along the spine.

The surgeries reduced the likelihood of babies going through more surgery to empty fluid from their brain later in life. It is also assumed that the operations improve their motor function at two and a half years.

  Surgeons at a hospital in Birmingham carry out an operation. The picture shows the tools used during the procedure.

Christopher Furlong

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Getty Images


"There were some children who had grown up after a fetal surgery who went for a walk, and one would not expect them to run if they would not have had it, "said Anne David, from UCL.

The hospital said the women and babies are recovering well now.

The procedure usually takes one and a half hours, but it carries the risk of premature labor. Researchers are now researching less invasive methods.

Mothers had to go to the United States, Belgium or Switzerland earlier for the operation, but David, who has been working to bring the case to the UK for three years, said that women are no longer from the United Kingdom leave, which means less costs. The women can also have the comfort of having their family with them.

According to The Telegraph the surgical team traveled earlier to Belgium to train in a facility in Leuven, where more than 40 of them were operations already performed.

The operation will be made available to patients via the Prenatal Therapy Center at the Great Ormond Street Hospital and UCLH, and this will be made possible through donations from the hospital's charities.

Donald Peebles, UCLH's clinical director of women's health, said the £ 450,000 fund has provided training for the surgical team and will fund the operation of the first 10 patients.


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