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Groundbreaking Womb Surgery Saves Baby



Knowledge Nuggets:

  • Doctors perform first-of-its-kind brain surgery on a baby in the womb to treat vein of Galen malformation (VOGM).
  • VOGM is a rare blood vessel abnormality in which misshapen arteries in the brain connect directly with veins, causing various health complications.
  • The successful surgery, documented in a case study, offers hope for treating VOGM and reducing the risk of long-term brain damage in infants.

In a groundbreaking medical achievement, doctors have performed a first-of-its-kind brain surgery on a baby in the womb, successfully saving the child from a deadly genetic disorder known as vein of Galen malformation (VOGM).

This extraordinary surgical procedure has offered new hope for infants diagnosed with this rare blood vessel abnormality.

VOGM occurs when the arteries in the brain connect directly with veins instead of capillaries, disrupting normal blood flow and leading to a range of severe health issues.

The condition can cause high-pressure blood to rush into the brain, resulting in complications such as congestive heart failure, pulmonary hypertension, brain injury, hydrocephalus, and increased risk of heart disease over time.

The recent case involved a baby diagnosed with VOGM at 30 weeks gestation. The parents, Derek and Kenyatta Coleman, opted to join a clinical trial for in-utero treatment despite the possible risks.

A skilled team from Boston Children’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital carried out the remarkable surgery. They accessed the fetus by cutting into the womb, then delicately operated on the developing brain after navigating using ultrasound guidance.

The successful procedure, documented in a case study published in the American Heart Association’s journal Stroke, showcased a promising outcome. The baby was born two days after the surgery, weighing 4.2 pounds, with no birth defects and limited complications.

Follow-up MRI scans three weeks after birth revealed no signs of abnormal blood flow, and the infant showed no need for cardiovascular assistance.

Lead study author Dr. Darren B. Orbach expressed his optimism, stating, “This approach has the potential to mark a paradigm shift in managing vein of Galen malformation where we repair the malformation prior to birth and head off the heart failure before it occurs, rather than trying to reverse it after birth.


This may markedly reduce the risk of long-term brain damage, disability, or death among these infants.”

The procedure’s success has sparked hope among researchers and medical professionals, leading to collaborations with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to conduct trials that assess the safety and effectiveness of this groundbreaking surgery.

The ongoing clinical trial aims to establish a clear pattern of improvement in neurologic and cardiovascular outcomes, providing valuable data and potentially expanding the treatment’s use.

The development of in-utero surgery for VOGM marks a significant milestone in medical science, offering a transformative approach to addressing this life-threatening condition before birth.

With continued research and successful outcomes, this pioneering technique has the potential to save countless lives, prevent long-term brain damage, and enhance the quality of life for affected infants and their families.

Clear Thoughts:

We value the sanctity of life and advocate for the advancement of medical science to protect the most vulnerable among us. That is why the recent achievement of performing brain surgery on a baby in the womb to treat vein of Galen malformation (VOGM) fills us with hope and optimism.

The groundbreaking procedure, conducted by a team of skilled doctors from Boston Children’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital, showcases the incredible potential of in-utero surgeries.

The decision made by Derek and Kenyatta Coleman to join the clinical trial for in-utero treatment, despite the possible risks, exemplifies their unwavering commitment to their unborn child’s well-being. Their bravery and trust in the medical professionals involved should be commended.



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