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by TeenHelp February 3rd 2018, 01:29 PM

Brittany (.Brittany.)

Myelomeningocele is the most serious and common form of Spina Bifida, which occurs in 3-4 out of every 10,000 live births. [Source]

Myelomeningocele is caused when the fetusí spine isnít fully formed during the first 28 days of gestation; this is usually before a mom finds out that sheís pregnant. Some research suggests that Spina Bifida may occur if the fetus doesnít get enough Folic Acid during the first six weeks of pregnancy. Doctors recommend that pregnant women should eat more greens and nuts. Myelomeningocele is when a little bit of the babyís spinal cord and nerves protrude from their back and then become a visible disc. When this happens, the baby loses the fluid that surrounds the nervous system, which effects the communication between the brain and the spinal cord.

Doctors can discover Myelomeningocele before the baby is born. During routine visits and ultrasounds, they can spot if the baby is developing Myelomeningocele. Pregnant women get a blood test called Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP), which tests how much AFP the baby has in their liver. With this number, doctors may then discover if thereís something wrong with the fetus.

Some babies live healthy normal lives with all types of Spina Bifida. Some live normal adulthoods, some participate in modified sports, and others may have to take control of their own bladder with self-catheterization.

In June 2017, Canadian doctors attempted a surgical procedure that has never been done in Canada before. A team of Doctors, Surgeons, Neonatologists, Anesthesiologists, Fetal Medicine Specialists, Cardiologists, and Nurses from Mount Siani Hospital and the Hospital for Sick Kids, both located in Toronto, Ontario, came together to perform an in-utero surgery on a 25-week fetus that had Myelomeningocele. This is the first time this type of surgery was done without the mom having to go to the United States. This procedure has been done several times in the US.

The day of the procedure, the mother was put under a general anesthetic, and with a small, fine needle the baby was sedated and temporarily paralysed. The surgeons then made a small incision in the motherís abdomen, being careful that they didnít hit the placenta. The surgeon then carefully removed the Myelomeningocele sac and repaired the spine. After the procedure, the mom stayed in hospital for 4-5 days to make sure that there were no complications.

The little baby was born pre-term on August 19 via a C-Section (Caesarean Section). The baby hasnít needed any type of medical attention since then.

This type of surgery can only be done between 19 and 27 weeks. Before 19 weeks the baby is very unstable as it's still developing all the vital organs and the baby is too small to be able to perform this type of operation. After 27 weeks, the surgery is a lot more risky, as the baby starts to breathe on its own, and their brains start to develop more.


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