Baby Tyler, who has undergone surgery in his mother’s womb to correct a severe case of spina bifida, is expected to walk soon after being given “the best long-term outcome” by doctors.
Spina bifida is a serious birth defect in which the spinal cord and spine are not fully formed. Affecting brain function, the condition can lead to bowel and bladder problems, club feet and even paralysis.
In the case of Baby Tyler, doctors performed surgery prior to birth, in utero, at 26 weeks to counteract the potential negative consequences of the defect.
Dr. Darrell Cass of the Cleveland Clinic said: “We keep the baby nicely floating in fluid inside the uterus, but the back is exposed and we work on the back.”
During the surgery, Baby Tyler had nerves and his spinal cord placed inside his spinal canal, which was then covered by muscle and skin.
The surgery was a complete success. Eight weeks later, Baby Tyler was born via C-section.
Baby Tyler has now celebrated his first birthday. His prospects are good, according to his parents and his doctors.
“We think now he will have the best long-term outcome of avoiding any risk of hydrocephalus and having the best motor performance of his legs and the best ability to walk independently”, said Dr Cass.
A SPUC spokesperson said: “In utero surgical interventions such as this are amazing and a credit to the medical profession. It is always heartening when doctors, answering their true pro-life calling, preserve and improve the lives of spina bifida babies who are just as valuable as any other child.”