Remarkable: Doctors Repair Spina Bifida Defect Before Birth

spina bifida surgery
Rendering of a fetus undergoing surgery to correct spina bifida. (Credit: Cleveland Clinic)

There’s a remarkable procedure to correct a birth defect and prevent brain damage.

What’s amazing is the surgery was done on the fetus while the baby girl was still in the womb.

The birth defect, called spina bifida, was found during a routine sonogram at about 18 weeks of pregnancy.

The spinal column doesn’t form normally and close around the spinal cord. That can lead to the brain partly collapsing out of the skull, back up spinal fluid and preventing normal brain development.

In one case, doctors at the Cleveland Clinic decided on a rare procedure to prevent brain damage in a fetus. They would try to repair the spina bifida defect by operating on the baby in the womb, which they call in-utero fetal surgery.

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