Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Recently, scientists in an NIH study reported that a surgical procedure to repair a common birth defect of the spine, if undertaken while a baby is still in the uterus, greatly reduces the need to divert, or shunt, fluid away from the brain, according to a study by the National Institutes of Health and four research institutions. The fetal surgical procedure also increases the chances that a child will be able to walk without crutches or other devices.
The birth defect, myelomeningocele, is the most serious form of spina bifida, a condition in which the spinal column fails to close around the spinal cord. With myelomeningocele, the spinal cord protrudes through an opening in the spine.
In a new Web video, study author Catherine Y. Spong, M.D., Chief of the Intramural Pregnancy and Perinatology Branch at the NICHD, describes the study’s findings.