Health Systems

The First Spina Bifida Open Fetal Surgery in North Texas

North Texas’s first spina bifida open fetal surgery occurred this summer at The Fetal Care Center in Medical City Children’s Hospital, when Dr. Timothy Crombleholme operated on Uriah Powell while he was still his in his mother’s womb. Shawn Shinneman wrote about Crombleholme’s journey to Dallas and how fetal surgery arrived in North Texas in October’s D Magazine.

When Uriah was born, his kicking legs signaled a successful spina bifida surgery. When Uriah’s mother Sarah was 18 weeks pregnant, she found he had spina bifida, a birth defect caused when the spine and spinal cord do not form properly, exposing a portion of the spine. If untreated, it can result in paralysis, but the operation improves chances of walking. Four weeks after the defect was identified, Crombleholme cut into Sarah’s abdomen and performed the surgery.

“Performing open fetal surgery is a team effort among many exceptionally skilled clinical experts,” said Timothy Crombleholme, MD, Medical Director of the Fetal Care Center at Medical City Children’s Hospital via release. “The comprehensive care team at The Fetal Care Center at Medical City Children’s Hospital will help care for Uriah as he grows up and will do all that we can to build on the fetal repair and support a much improved quality of life for him.”

Read Shawn’s story here.


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