U of Michigan joins hospitals performing in-utero surgery to correct spina bifida of unborn children

Editor’s note. This appears on the blog of Right to Life of Michigan.


Carter Hilton

The Detroit Free Press has a wonderful story about how the University of Michigan Hospital System has become one of 13 in the country to perform surgery to partially correct spina bifida while unborn children are still in the womb. Over the summer, surgeons operated on Kasey Hilton and her son Carter.

Kasey Hilton said the decision was easy.

On July 29, doctors wheeled her into an operating room at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital at U-M at 9:30 a.m.

Surgeons first opened her abdomen and uterus. With Hilton’s vitals still steady, doctors then began the surgery on the 23 1/2-week fetus inside her.

Now separately anesthetized, the single-pound fetus was gently turned and held into place by gloved surgical hands. Its tiny spine was exposed to a pediatric neurosurgeon, who separated some of the abnormal tissue, then closed the skin over the exposed portion of the spine while making sure not to disturb the underlying nerve tissue in the spinal cord.

A specialist monitored the ultrasound for signs of fetal distress.

One anesthesiologist monitored mom; a second anesthesiologist — working with a pediatric cardiologist and maternal fetal medicine doctor — was responsible for the fetus.

Kasey Hilton also has a blog in which she chronicles the surgery, her pregnancy and Carter’s journey.

You can read the full story here.