Coming Together through Fetal Intervention

Kids living with spina bifida run and play at fourth annual summer camping trip

12:30 PM

Author | Rachel Zeichman

A very special connection was shared by several families who recently gathered together at the River Valley R.V. Park in Gladwin, Michigan: each had a child that had underwent surgery to treat myelomeningocele, the most common and severe form of spina bifida.  Spina bifida, a neural tube defect where bones of the spine do not form properly around the spinal cord, is the most common neural defect in the United States affecting 1,500 to 2,000 babies each year.

While some of the families' surgeries were performed after birth, the majority were done in utero through open fetal operations, which few other hospitals offer. Since 2014 Michigan Medicine has offered fetal surgery for patients with spina bifida who qualified. Although it is not a cure, the procedure could minimize a child's need for a ventriculoperitoneal shunt, a surgery to treat excess fluid in the cavities of the brain, and could increase their likelihood of being able to walk on their own.

Through an annual camping trip, some of Michigan Medicine's first fetal surgery patients and families have come together to help reinforce the connection they all share while the children run, laugh and play with one another in the park.  While prognoses are grim for many diagnosed with the condition, ranging from bathroom and walking issues to neurological damage, Michigan Medicine offers hope for these children to lead thriving lives.


More Articles About: Children's Health CS Mott Children's Hospital Neurological Disorders Von Voigtlander Women's Hospital Fetal Diagnostics Spine, Back & Neck Brain and Spine Womens Health Surgery Types Prenatal Care Hospitals & Centers
Health Lab word mark overlaying blue cells
Health Lab

This article is from the Health Lab digital publication.

Media Contact Public Relations

Department of Communication at Michigan Medicine

MichMedmedia@med.umich.edu

734-764-2220

Newsletter

Get a weekly digest of medical research and innovation, straight to your inbox.

Subscribe
Featured News & Stories
Health Lab
Toddler with Spina Bifida Meets Paralympian: “She has crutches like me”
Young patient’s reaction to commercial featuring gold medalist and double amputee Jessica Long goes viral, leads to Zoom introduction.
pediatrician talking with mother at exam questions
Health Lab
Checklist for the checkup: Some parents may not be making the most of well child visits
While many parents keep recommended well visits with their child’s primary provider, some may consider more proactive steps to make checkups as productive as possible
scientist examining a kidney
Health Lab
An AI model predicting acute kidney injury works, but not without some tweaking
The model identified AKI 48 hours in advance, allowing ample time for clinicians to intervene and provide treatment.
gas stove pot cooking
Health Lab
Is your gas stove really hurting you and your family?
A pulmonologist discusses the risks and offers tips for protecting your health in your home
Health Lab
For boy with cerebral palsy, surgery brings improved mobility
The spinal nerve procedure has been shown to provide an effective decrease in muscle spasticity long term.
woman doctor scrubs sad ashamed lab note
Health Lab
Study in residents shows high prevalence of sexual harassment, yet low reporting rates
Research reveals that one in four women among internal medicine residents experiences sexual harassment, but far fewer go on to report it.