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The operations on babies in the womb are already a reality and the results are very positive. The specialists of the Hospital del Vall d'Hebrón, in Barcelona, became the first team in the world to operate, with a new technique based on collagen and elastin patches, on a 24-week-old baby with spina bifida.
The baby, whose name is Esther, was born without the serious consequences of the disease. After a year, he was able to walk normally, although he may have trouble controlling his bowels. And is that spina bifida or myelomeningocele is a congenital malformation that generates alterations in the locomotor system, urinary and brain (hydrocephalus), as it affects the closure of the spine and spinal cord. This causes the amniotic fluid to be in contact with the nervous system and causes its deterioration.
The intervention consists of opening the uterus as if it were a caesarean section, in mid-pregnancy, to be able to access the fetus's back and correct the malformation by isolating the medulla from the amniotic fluid with a patch. The new Vall d'Hebron technique consists of covering the marrow with a special collagen and elastin patch that is glued on top of the defect, without touching the skin. As the baby grows, it is replaced by skin, so that when the baby is born the defect is closed and covered by its own skin. Afterwards, it is closed again, the extracted amniotic fluid is introduced again and the gestation is prolonged after the operation until it is born by caesarean section. The good news is that the baby recovers in five months, good mobility.
A new door to life expectancy opens with medical advancement in the field of intrauterine surgery. Currently, a good measure to avoid neural tube defects like spina bifida in babies is to prevent them by ingesting folic acid from three months of becoming pregnant.
Folic acid, also known as vitamin B6, has proven to be highly effective in preventing neural tube defects such as spina bifida. Specialists recommend take it before pregnancy and during the first three months of pregnancy, although in most pregnancies, folic acid intake is maintained throughout the pregnancy.
Marisol New. Editor of our site
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