Prenatal Surgery May Help Babies With Spina Bifida

By birthinjury on February 28, 2011

According to U.S. News and World Report, a new study shows that prenatal surgery performed on a fetus before birth can improve the health of a child born with spina bifida. Spina bifida is a neural tube defect typically manifested by an opening in a fetus’ spine (myelomeningocele).

A study, published by the New England Journal of Medicine, found that preterm operations improved the chance that a child born with spina bifida will be able to walk and also reduces the risk of other neurological complications. However, surgery in the womb is also associated with a greater risk of premature birth.

Woman who were carrying fetuses that were diagnosed with myelomeningocele were the focus of the study. This condition often results in life-long cognitive disabilities, digestive disorders and numerous neurological conditions. Usually, such babies are operated on within a few days of their birth during which the myelomeningocele is repaired in the hopes of minimizing the effects of this congenital abnormality.
The goal of the study was to determine whether prenatal surgery lessens the need for a child to undergo subsequent multiple surgeries after birth, and, if it effects the child’s prognosis in other areas.

The results of the study showed that about 42 percent of infants who underwent surgery in the womb were able to walk at age three unassisted, compared to 21 percent of those who received the operation postnatally. However, neither grouped showed a significant difference in mental development. Additionally, almost four-fifths of the infants who underwent surgery in the womb were prematurely born (before 37 weeks), with 10 of 78 babies born before 30 weeks of gestation.

If your doctor or other medical professional failed to provide proper prenatal care and your child was born with spina bifida or any other serious congenital condition, contact the New Jersey spina bifida lawyers at Blume Forte. We can evaluate the circumstances of the care you were given to determine whether or not a claim can be pursued. Call us at 973-635-5400 for a no-cost consultation.

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