Indian-Origin Doctor Leads Successful In-Utero Surgery for Spina Bifida

by Antariksh Singh

In a groundbreaking medical achievement, a team of doctors led by Dr. Mandeep Singh, an Indian-origin fetal medicine expert based in the UAE, has successfully performed a complex in-utero procedure on a pregnant patient from South America. Dr. Singh, who hails from Mumbai, has become the first doctor of Indian descent to conduct an in-utero spina bifida repair surgery, offering new hope for patients worldwide.

The procedure took place at The Burjeel Medical City Hospital in Abu Dhabi, where Dr. Singh and his team repaired a spinal defect in a 24-week-old fetus. Spina bifida, a birth defect that occurs when the spine fails to form properly, results in the exposure of the spinal cord to amniotic fluid, leading to permanent disability. It often causes a loss of bowel and urinary bladder control, paralysis, and weakness in the lower limbs.

The patient from Colombia underwent this rare open spina bifida fetal procedure to minimize both short-term and long-term complications for her baby. The success of the surgery opens up new possibilities for expectant mothers facing similar challenges.

Expressing his optimism about increasing accessibility to advanced treatments, Dr. Singh stated, “I am hopeful that by collaborating with institutes and specialists in India, we can make these cutting-edge treatments available in the country, eliminating the need for patients to travel abroad.”

In-utero spina bifida repair is currently only available at approximately 14 medical centers worldwide, making this achievement even more remarkable. Dr. Singh, a renowned consultant in Fetal Medicine and Obstetrics, as well as the CEO of Burjeel Farha, a division specializing in women and children’s healthcare, explained the intricacies of the procedure.

“During the fetal repair surgery, a small incision is made on the uterus, exposing the baby’s back for the neurosurgeon to close the spina bifida defect,” Dr. Singh elaborated. “We utilize a synthetic patch to cover the defect, reinstating the amniotic fluid into the cavity before closing the uterus. The baby remains in the womb for the remainder of the pregnancy and is delivered via cesarean section at 37 weeks gestation.”

Dr. Singh’s pioneering work not only highlights the remarkable advancements in fetal medicine but also signifies a major stride in improving the outcomes for babies diagnosed with spina bifida. By sharing his expertise and fostering collaboration with Indian institutes and specialists, Dr. Singh aspires to enhance accessibility to these advanced treatments and eliminate the need for patients to seek medical care abroad.

This momentous achievement serves as a testament to the immense potential of medical professionals working together to revolutionize healthcare and change lives for the better.

Antariksh Singh

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