What are the benefits of prenatal surgery to treat spina bifida?

Prenatal surgery is an experimental treatment for some babies with spina bifida.  Although it does have risks to mother and fetus, in the research to date doctors have found prenatal treatment to have several benefits:


-  Reducing risk of trauma: Amniotic fluid is damaging to the exposed nerve tissue and bone. Prenatal surgery can reduce the exposure of these elements to the toxic environment. It can also reduce trauma experienced during birth.

-  Preventing Neurological Complications: Prenatal surgery can allow neurological complications that often accompany spina bifida to correct themselves.

-  Preventing Physiological Complications: Prenatal surgery can reduce the risk of spinal tethering, a disorder that can affect the muscle functions.


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