The Cleveland Clinic has performed its first-ever successful surgery to repair spina bifida in utero on an unborn baby at just 23 weeks gestation, a remarkable medical achievement affirming the humanity of the unborn while issuing a (however unintentional) slap in the face to arguments for abortion in the case of fetal abnormality.
According to the clinic, the surgery was performed by no fewer than seven practiced surgeons back in February on a baby girl, who was later delivered by C-section near full term on June 3. The clinic hailed the successful operation as “ northern Ohio’s first surgery of its kind,” adding that “mother and daughter are doing well.”
The Cleveland Clinic briefly explains how they were able to accomplish the herculean task of repairing the baby’s abnormality:
During the fetal repair surgery, a caesarean section-like incision is made and the mother’s uterus is exposed. An ultrasound is then used to locate the placenta and fetus. The uterus is opened 4.5 cm and the back of the fetus is exposed, showing the spina bifida lesion. The surgeons then carefully suture several individual layers of tissue (myofascia, dura and skin) in order to cover the defect. After the uterus is closed back up, the fetus remains in the womb for the remainder of the pregnancy and is ultimately born by caesarean section.
“By successfully repairing the defect before birth, we’re allowing this child to have the best possible outcome and significantly improve her quality of life,” said Dr. Cass. “There are different measures of quality in determining success for fetal repairs and in this particular case, all metrics for maximum quality were achieved.”
The clinic added that the operating team had trained for more than a year for the procedure.
Not only was the surgery itself a massive success, but the baby girl wasn’t born until 36.5 weeks gestation – making it more than two weeks longer in the womb than the average post-fetal surgery gestation period of 34 weeks, the clinic adds.
Spina bifida, a condition that affects thespinal cord and nerves, can impair a child’s later ability to walk, and can even affect the development of the brain, occurs in approximately 1,645 babies born each year in the United States. Unfortunately, countless other children diagnosed in utero with the condition are aborted, often at the encouragement of doctors.