Research focus: Spina bifida surgery before birth restores brain structure

April 11, 2020

Mayo Clinic researchers have discovered that the benefit from spina bifida repair performed on a fetus in the womb works beyond the spine to improve the brain structure. Researchers led by Rodrigo Ruano, M.D., Ph.D., Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Edward S. Ahn, M.D., Neurosurgery, both of Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, found that correcting congenital spinal cord defects before birth is effective at reversing associated effects on the brain.

The research focused on patients with myelomeningocele who underwent fetal surgery to correct the most common and serious form of spina bifida. This procedure is often performed between 23 and 26 weeks of gestation.

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