Since the first successful in utero (in the womb) spina bifida repair surgery in 1997, only a small handful of hospitals in the country have been able to offer this extremely specialized type of surgery. Most patients have to travel to programs in California, Tennessee or Pennsylvania for the procedure, where they may have to remain for up to eight weeks for follow-up care.
But now, for the first time in the Gulf South region, Jefferson Parish-based Ochsner Medical Center successfully operated and corrected a myelomeningocele (MMC) birth defect, the most serious form of spina bifida, in a 23 week-old fetus. Ochsner Medical Center’s fetal surgery team of 18 physicians and nurses operated on the spine of the baby while still in his mother’s uterus, a procedure that fewer than 10 hospitals in the United States are able to perform.
When he was born 12 weeks later, little Colby Boudreaux weighed 4 pounds, 12 ounces and his physicians are thrilled with his prognosis, saying it is the best result they could have hoped for.
Watch the video about this ground-breaking surgery: