Clinic Performs Successful ‘In Utero’ Fetal Surgery Against Spina Bifida

Surgery - AP Photo
AP File Photo

The Cleveland Clinic has announced its first in utero surgery to repair a spina bifida birth defect in a nearly 23-week-old fetus just as other states are passing expansive abortion laws allowing the legal killing of unborn children up to birth.

“A multispecialty team of clinicians performed the surgery in February, and the baby, a girl, was later delivered by caesarean section near full term June 3, making it northern Ohio’s first surgery of its kind,” the clinic reported.

“By successfully repairing the defect before birth, we’re allowing this child to have the best possible outcome and significantly improve her quality of life,” said Dr. Darrell Cass, the lead doctor on the surgical team. “There are different measures of quality in determining success for fetal repairs and in this particular case, all metrics for maximum quality were achieved.”

Spina bifida is a birth defect that affects the lowest part of the spine and occurs when the neural tube fails to fully close, causing the backbone that protects the spinal cord not to form as it should. This often results in damage to the spinal cord and nerves and can even lead to brain damage.

The fetal repair surgery involves creating a caesarean section-like incision exposing the mother’s uterus after which an ultrasound is used to locate the fetus. A second incision in the uterus itself exposes the back of the fetus, revealing the spina bifida lesion. The surgeons then suture several layers of tissue in order to cover the defect.

Once the uterus is closed back up, the fetus remains in the womb for the remainder of the pregnancy and is ultimately born by caesarean section, the clinic said.

“Although the surgery was a success, spina bifida is never cured,” said Dr. Cass. “Moving forward, the baby will require ongoing supportive care provided by a multidisciplinary team of caregivers in our Spina Bifida Clinic, which will involve neurology, urology, orthopedics, developmental pediatrics and neurosurgery, among other specialists.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 1,645 babies are born with spina bifida in the United States each year.

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