Photo by JAFAR AHMED on Unsplash

In UK’s First Feat, Baby’s Spine Repaired In Womb Through Keyhole Surgery

by | May 17, 2019

In an amazing feat achieved by doctors in the UK, it is the first time when a baby’s intricate spinal deformity has been corrected while still developing in the mother’s womb. Using keyhole surgery, the doctors were able to do their best. Know more about the baby’s spine repaired in womb through keyhole surgery here.

In UK's First Feat, Baby’s Spine Repaired In Womb Through Keyhole Surgery
Photo by Piron Guillaume on Unsplash

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In UK’s First Feat, Baby’s Spine Repaired In Womb Through Keyhole Surgery

Spina bifida is a defect that occurs in developing babies, where their spinal cord fails to develop adequately. An incurable condition, doctors rely only on treatments for this type of neural tube defect.

That said, for the first time in the world, doctors in the UK repaired the spinal deformity of a baby with Spina bifida inside the mother’s womb using keyhole surgery. Although the surgeons at King’s College Hospital mentioned the surgery isn’t a cure, nonetheless, it could be the difference between children learning to walk or not, reports BBC.

Jaxson, the unborn baby boy on whom the surgery was performed was diagnosed with the condition after his mother underwent the routine 20-week scan. The scan revealed Jaxson’s spinal cord and spine unable to form correctly.

geriatric pregnancy
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In UK’s First Feat, Baby’s Spine Repaired In Womb Through Keyhole Surgery

Jaxson’s condition had gaps in the spine which led the cord to bulge out from the back, exposing the same to amniotic fluids present in the womb. This exposure can potentially damage the spinal cords ‘crucial nerves’ with other dire consequences. And the longer the exposure, the greater the damages. Sherrie Sharp, 29 from West Sussex was shocked to find the condition but never thought of abortion.

The exceptionally brave mother decided to go for the first-in-kind surgery despite chances of her baby arriving prematurely lingered. She told the BBC-

“I wanted to do the best for my baby, I wanted him to have a better life and there’s nothing wrong with that.”

Sherrie Sharp via bbc.com

The Life Changing Surgery

Until then, parents had to await childbirth in order to proceed with any corrective treatment for the spinal deformity condition.  However, the mother and unborn baby duo underwent the surgery at the 27th week of pregnancy. According to evidence, operating during the second semester ‘reduces long-term health consequences’ and ‘nerve damage’ caused by Spina bifida.

Surgeons reportedly inserted surgical tools and a thin camera during the extremely sensitive three hours operation via three incisions made in Sharp’s womb. To correct the baby’s exposed spinal cord back in place, the doctors at King’s College Hospital covered the area with a patch.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash
In UK’s First Feat, Baby’s Spine Repaired In Womb Through Keyhole Surgery

Miracle baby Jaxson, who along with his mum pioneered the potentially life-changing surgery, arrived early at 33 weeks. The baby boy was into King’s neonatal intensive care. The mother said-

“I’ve got high hopes for him, from day one he’s done things, he’s amazed us all.

“He’s got movements in his legs, we were told he’d have minimal movements if we didn’t have the surgery and he wouldn’t be able to move at all.

“He makes me proud every day, he’s just a miracle.”

Sherrie Sharp via bbc.com

Our best wishes for the baby and mum. What do you think about the first-of-its type surgery to correct a spinal deformity inside the womb? Let me know your thoughts in comments.

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Debayan Paul

Digital Writer | West Bengal, India | [email protected]

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