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Unborn baby’s spine op is a first for Africa

18 April 2019 - 08:00 By KATHARINE CHILD
The unborn baby with spina bifida is operated on to improve the likelihood of walking one day and decrease disability.
The unborn baby with spina bifida is operated on to improve the likelihood of walking one day and decrease disability.
Image: MediClinic Morningside

A 25-week-old unborn Johannesburg baby has become the first foetus in Africa to receive anaesthetic and undergo groundbreaking “keyhole” surgery to the spine.

The four-hour procedure, which involved removing the womb and resting it on the mother’s skin, was performed by a team led by US Baylor College of Medicine professor Mike Belfort, who was born and trained in SA.

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