Medical professionals in the US have revealed details of the first successful in utero operation on a foetus. Surgeons operated on the baby girl while she was still in the womb to remove a life threatening tumour.
The rare tumour, called an oral teratoma, appeared on the 17 week ultrasound scan as if ‘a bubble’ was coming out of the baby’s mouth. Expectant mum Tammy Gonzalez, from Florida, was prepared for the worst, as doctors explained the tumour was very rare and there was little chance of survival.
But five months later little Leyna was born weighing 8lbs 1oz with just a tiny scar on her mouth to give away the world first surgery that saved her life.
The procedure involved putting Gonzalez under anaesthetic while a needle was pushed into the amniotic sac surrounding the foetus. Doctors then used a laser to cut the tumour from Leyna’s lips. The whole operation was complete in just over an hour.
"When they finally severed the whole thing off and I could see it floating down, it was like this huge weight had been lifted off me and I could finally see her face,” Gonzalez told press in Miami, thanking her daughter’s surgeon ‘saviours’.
Now 20 months old, Leyna is living a normal, healthy life. The details of her amazing operation have only just been made public in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.