Neurosurgeon performs fetal spina bifida repair: 3 things to know

Written by Shayna Korol | February 12, 2019 | Print  |

Neurosurgeon Dr. Dominic Thompson performed one of the first fetal spina bifida surgeries in the U.K. at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, according to the BBC.

Three things to know:

1. Dr. Thompson opened the mother's uterus and repositioned the 24-week fetus' spinal cord.

2. Spina bifida occurs when the spinal column and cord do not properly form in utero, leaving nerves exposed. The condition occurs in about 4 in 10,000 pregnancies.

3. An estimated 80 percent of mothers choose to terminate pregnancies where the fetus is diagnosed with spina bifida. "Until now, when people got this devastating news there were two options - continue with the pregnancy or termination. This now offers a third option," Dr. Thompson told the BBC. "It is not a cure. But there is quite clear evidence through critical trials that the outlook can be a lot better with surgery early on."

More articles on spine:
Research sheds new light on spinal cord function
Spinal fusion hospital costs for Medicare patients exceed $40K: 5 things to know
Dr. Albert Dean Jr. passes away

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