Spina Bifida is a birth defect where the spinal cord doesn't finish forming completely, leading to physical and neurological impairments.
It is one of the most common birth defects, diagnosed in about 1500 babies every year. But, thanks to support from the March of Dimes, new research is pointing to what could be a cure, or rather early intervention.
At Texas Children's Hospital, surgeons are trying something new: they're opening up the pregnant mother's uterus to repair the baby's spine before the child is even born.
One of the surgeons familiar with the procedure, Darrell Cass, M.D. said, "We think that this is a major advance in improving and lessening the disability in children faced with this very devastating disease of Spina Bifida.
"And that's where the March of Dimes might really come to play here because they've been a big supporter with everything that has to do with prenatal health and they've supported research to help us understand how to best use fetal surgery to treat children with Spina Bifida."
Studies have shown that rather than wait until after birth to make the repair, operating in-utero greatly reduces the risk of fluid on the child's brain, increasing the odds that the child will someday be able to walk independently.
The procedure is still in its infancy, but the results have been extremely promising so far.
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