Prenatal surgery on preborn babies with spina bifida has had tremendous success, and now new research from Mayo Clinic shows that when surgery is performed prenatally on preborn babies with spina bifida, normal brain structure can be restored. In the study, the surgery was performed on three preborn babies in the second trimester who had been diagnosed with myelomeningocele – the most common and serious form of spina bifida.
“We discovered the main benefit of this procedure is not only to close the spine, but the most important thing is to improve the brain structure and the brain anatomy,” said Dr. Rodrigo Ruano, M.D., Ph.D., chair of Mayo Clinic’s Division of Maternal and Fetal Medicine. “Our study shows we can regenerate the brain structure so that it comes back to better development.” He also noted that fetal surgery to correct congenital spinal cord issues such as spina bifida before birth is more effective than surgery performed after birth.
With myelomeningocele, the backbone and spinal canal do not properly close during development. Because of this, membranes and spinal nerves move out through that opening, leaving tissues and nerves exposed and the baby at risk of life-threatening infections. With each child in this study, a neurological disorder called Chiari malformation, in which the brain is pushed down through the base of the skull, was also present.
Surgery to close the spinal cord was performed by Dr. Ruano and his medical team between 23 and 26 weeks gestation, and MRI scans taken six weeks post surgery showed that the brain structure of each baby had been restored. The babies were delivered via C-section at 37 weeks gestation. None of them had complications and each was discharged within three days.
“Our hypothesis is if we closed the spinal defect in utero, we could prevent inflammation and trauma to the nerves, and most importantly stop the leakage of brain fluid through the base of the skull,” said Dr. Ruano. “And the posterior part of the brain can be restored or improved. The study showed that after in utero intervention, the brain healed itself and prevented a more severe buildup of fluid on the brain.”
Live Action News has featured stories of babies who have been diagnosed with spina bifida in the womb and have undergone fetal surgery. Baby Abigail was one of the first babies to undergo the surgery. She was born at 37 weeks and went home without needing an intervention. She was wiggling her toes — and Dr. Alex Van Speybroeck, director of the spina bifida program at Children’s Hospital LA said he had “never seen that in my career.” Kaelyn underwent prenatal surgery for spina bifida and will be able to walk because of it.
Tragically, babies diagnosed with spina bifida during pregnancy are targeted for abortion despite the fact that people live happy and successful lives with the condition. The eugenic abortions of children due to health conditions is a horrific act that reduces all individuals living with medical conditions to a mere diagnosis. It disregards their intrinsic value as human beings who have irreplaceable gifts to offer to the world around them.
Video of the remarkable prenatal surgery for spina bifida is available to watch here.
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