Doctors at Canadian Specialist Hospital perform procedure on baby with neural tube defect
Dubai: Doctors at Canadian Specialist Hospital in Dubai performed a life-saving surgery on a one-day-old baby suffering from a neural tube defect.
The birth defect, known as Myelomeningocele, is the rarest and severe form of spina bifida, wherein the spinal cord and nerve endings of the newborn were exposed and protruding out of the body.
According to 2016 statistics, the average worldwide incidence of spina bifida is one case per 1,000 births.
Due to the surgery, the child is now able to live a healthy life. However, considering the complexity of the surgery and the area of operation, the child may face other neurological problems as he grows up.
Post-surgery, the child was kept under observation to ensure that the dressing was done regularly and to minimise any chance of infection. The baby was discharged after the wound was healed completely.
Myelomeningocele is a birth defect in which the backbone and spinal canal do not close before birth leading to an opening on the baby’s back. The spinal cord and nerve roots of the baby protrude in the form of a sac and may cause loss of fluid from the nervous system. The defect may also obstruct the flow of the fluid coming out of brain causing hydrocephalus or excessive accumulation of fluid in the brain.
The mother flew down from Chad in her third trimester and consulted the doctors in Canadian Specialist Hospital where her unborn child was diagnosed with the condition. The family was then advised that the safest course of action was postnatal surgery within a day of the birth of the child. The mother underwent a Caesarean section delivery in her ninth month after which the baby was operated for the management of myelomeningocele.
“The baby was born with a large defect in the back in the form of a cyst with nerve endings exposed and the Cerebro Spinal Fluid (CSF) leaking from the exposed area. Due to timely diagnosis, we successfully operated on the baby within 24 hours of birth,” said Dr Mohammad Noor Al Deen Jabbar, specialist neurosurgeon at Canadian Specialist Hospital.
The medical team at Canadian Specialist Hospital faced a range of challenges for the operation. Since the baby was a day old, administration of anaesthesia had to be performed accurately. The operation itself was time-sensitive and had to be performed within 24 hours to avoid any infections. The procedure was especially risky as any major blood loss would have led to complications causing a hypovolemic shock. Furthermore, during the surgery, the exposed sac had to be prevented from infection as well as nerve damage to avoid serious conditions like meningitis and permanent paralysis in the baby.
“The procedure, which lasted less than an hour, underwent without complications given the level of complexity and challenges that we were faced with. The idea was to preserve the nerve roots and the spinal cord and put it back in its original space,” said Dr Jabbar.