A new born facing a life confined to a wheel chair won`t have to, thanks to a team of surgeons at Oschner Medical Center.
Ochsner is the first area hospital to perform a new ground breaking operation before the baby is even born.
Diagnosed still in the womb with one of the most serious forms of spina bifida, Clifton Moore, M.D. says Baby Kolby is now expected to run and walk just like any other healthy child should. “If you can take a child that maybe wheelchair bound and you can keep him from being wheelchair bound or brace dependent, that`s a big deal when we`re talking about whole life outcomes.”
Moore joined a team of surgeon’s operating on Baby Kolby twelve weeks before he was born, “The procedure is called in utero myelomeningocele correction. Which means opening up the uterus and correcting the defect until it`s safe to deliver, “She was right at the very beginning of where babies can make it or can`t make it. The baby weighed probably under a pound.”
Moore says fewer than ten hospitals in the United States are able to perform this life changing operation. Ochsner Medical Center is one of them, “We have the pediatric surgeon, we have the pediatric cardiologist, we have the high risk pregnancy doctors.”
Even though this procedure is changing lives, Moore says expecting mothers can prevent spina bifida from occurring in the first place, “They should take a daily vitamin that contains folic acids and make sure they`re taking in at least 400 micro grams a day. Because that would be the better outcome. To not have this problem.”
Doctors at Ochsner spent a full year preparing and practicing before choosing Baby Kolby as their first patient.
More than a decade of research shows operating while still in the womb is more effective than the traditional way of waiting until after the baby is born.
Moore says fetal surgery is one of the most revolutionary developments in the treatment of spina bifida, “We`re really excited about it. We`re going to be watching this baby really closely. I know her family is really excited about the baby so we can`t wait to see this baby as it gets older.”