Open spina bifida develops when the spine fails to close at some point along its length during fetal development.
Our group has worked on developing a minimally-invasive technique (so-called ‘keyhole surgery’) for the antenatal treatment of MMC, translating an experience of more than 10 years in the animal model to a viable clinical application. The technique does not require a hysterotomy (uterine incision). Instead, small instruments are placed into the womb through tiny incisions, and with the use of partial CO2 insufflation, the open spina bifida is repaired. This approach minimizes the risks of the surgery for the mother while preserving the potential benefits of the in-utero repair for the fetus.