For the first time in the United Kingdom, babies have received spinal surgery while still in the womb
To treat a development defect known as Spina bifida, for the first time two babies have received spinal surgery while still in the womb.
A team of 30 doctors carried out two 90 minutes surgery at University College Hospital in London.
Previously, Mothers need to travel abroad for this procedure. With years of research showing the benefits of conducting surgery in the womb, British medical Practitioners are now convinced it’s well worth the risks.
The babies had a Spina bifida (Condition when the spinal cord fails to develop properly and has a gap in it).
Spina bifida is usually treated after the birth, but the earlier it is treated the better for the long term health and mobility.
With a team of 30 doctors the surgery carried out this summer, doctors cut a small opening in the womb and then stitched together with the baby’s gap in the spine.
The procedure is not without risks not only to baby but also to the mother as well. The procedure is risky and can cause premature labour, but researchers are exploring less invasive keyhole methods.
UCL Professor Anne David said, "We put the mum on some drugs that help relax them, but there is still a risk."
Hospital said, Mother and babies are recovering well.
Surgery Coordinator Prof Anna David from the University College in London said, "It's fantastic, Women now don't have to travel out of the UK. They can have their family with them. There are less expenses. So all good things."
Every year more than 200 children are born with Spina bifida, according to the charity shine.
In UK roughly 1 in every 1000 births has some form of neural tube defects like Spina Bifida, which is believed to have genetic links and is also associated with a low intake of folic acid.
Spina bifida is the condition when the spinal cord fails to develop properly and has a gap in it.
Surgery can be used to close the gap in the spine in most cases. But often the nervous system will already have been damaged leading to problems including paralysis of the legs and incontinence. Some people with the condition have learning difficulties.
The surgery which follows a trial in the US, will be available for patients through the new Centre for Prenatal Therapy at UCL hospital and Great Ormond Street Hospital.
Prof Anne David explained on the guardian, "There were some children who had grown up following foetal surgery who were walking and you wouldn't expect them to be walking if they hadn't had it."