Today, STAT News, a daily news site that reports on health, science and medicine, shared a story about a groundbreaking fetal surgery procedure to help repair spina bifida in the womb. Ramen Chmait, MD, neonatal surgeon, and his team performed this innovative fetal surgery at Huntington Hospital in February. The article follows the family’s journey, with details on the procedure under the care of Dr. Chmait and a team of physicians at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and USC.
As reported in STAT News: It’s a long surgery — it takes a full hour just to insert the trocars, remove amniotic fluid, and inflate the uterus, Chmait said. The procedure went smoothly. Assisted by pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Jason Chu from Children’s Hospital LA, Chmait dissected out the spinal cord and nerves that were exposed. As he operated, he could see the cerebrospinal fluid leaking out in large drops. Chmait and Chu gently placed the spinal cord back in position and covered the opening in the baby’s back with a collagen patch. Chmait then sewed the baby’s skin over the patch and replaced the amniotic fluid that had been withdrawn.
Throughout the six-hour procedure, Arnuf (the father) waited anxiously outside. As soon as the operating team came out, he knew it had gone well. “It was like an ’80s flick where the basketball team wins the championship,” he said. “There were high-fives all around. They didn’t even have to say a word.”
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Congratulations to Dr. Chmait and his entire team on this groundbreaking achievement!