Hadassah

Hadassah Team to Bring Groundbreaking Spina Bifida Surgery to Israel

Thursday, Aug 20 2015

Groundbreaking surgery aimed at fixing the devastating birth defect, Spina bifida ("split spine"), while still in fetus stage.

Thanks to advances in fetal surgery, Spina bifida, (“split spine”), a dreaded, devastating birth defect, can now be corrected in utero. Following the training of its multidisciplinary team in Brazil, the Hadassah Medical Organization will be the first to introduce this groundbreaking surgery in Israel.

Many parents who learn their unborn baby suffers from this defect make the heartbreaking choice to abort the fetus. Others, for whom abortion is not an option, face a future of raising children with severe physical and often cognitive problems that will plague them for their entire lives.

Traditionally, to close the backbone and membranes around the spinal cord, back surgery is performed on the first day of birth. The surgery, however, does not completely eliminate the physical disabilities.

In certain medical centers, alternatively, the fetus is removed from the mother before birth, operated upon, and then put back in the womb. “Removal of a fetus from the uterus involves many risks, both for the baby and the mother,” explains Dr. Moni Benifla, head of Hadassah’s Pediatric Neurosurgery Unit. Consequently, Hadassah had decided against performing that procedure. Now, however, the option to perform the surgery in utero has become a possibility.

Hadassah already has an outstanding Fetal Medicine department, headed by Dr. Yuval Gielchinsky, a world-renowned expert and so-called “twin whisperer,” who has saved hundreds of babies--many of them twins who shared a blood supply--by operating on them in utero.

Dr. Gielchinsky, Dr. Benifla, and Anesthesiologist Yehuda Ginnosar have completed their initial training in Sao Paulo. The three comprise a powerful team because, as Dr. Benifla explains: “My experience as a pediatric neurosurgeon who works with endoscopy in the delicate areas of the brain is vital. Dr. Gielchinsky and Dr. Ginnosar have enormous experience in fetal surgery.”  He adds: “We chose Brazil for training because abortion is uncommon there and there are more cases of Spina bifida.” The Hadassah team, expanded to include an operating room nurse, will make one additional visit to Brazil before returning to Hadassah to launch the surgery at the beginning of 2016.

Looking ahead, Dr. Benifla relates: “We expect to have at least one case a month from Israel and the surrounding countries because we have a traditional population where abortion is often not a religious choice.”

Comments

From: Nodin on February 16, 2016
From: Sherri on September 3, 2015
My mother lost a child at birth due to spina bifida in the 1050's when their was no test to find out if a fetus had it. I had to be tested when I was pregnant with my daughter knowing that if the test was positive I was prepared to abort. Thankfully my daughter was not affected. I am glad to know that she will be spared this fear and loss by the new technology allowing for in utero correction.
First Name
Email
Comment
Enter this word:

Related Stories

alt_text

Tuesday, Jun 20 2017

Send in the Clowns: A Hadassah UK Dispatch

This week Hadassah UK (HUK) brought in one of the Hadassah Medical Organization's best and more unusual, head medical clown David Barashi (DuSH).

READ MORE ›
alt_text

Friday, Jun 16 2017

Hadassah’s Director General Receives Honorary PhD from Cyprus Medical School

For sharing his knowledge and experience with senior officials in the Cyprus medical system, Prof. Zeev Rotstein, Director General of the Hadassah Medical Organization, was awarded an honorary PhD from the St. George University of London’s Medical Program at the University of Nicosia Medical School in Cyprus.

READ MORE ›
alt_text

Thursday, Jun 8 2017

Hadassah Doctors Discover Bullet
in 12-Year-Old’s Arm

Muhammad Baduan, age 12, had been experiencing pain in his arm on and off for months. Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem Emergency Room physicians put an end to the boy’s pain when they solved the mystery: Muhammad had a 22-millimeter bullet hidden in that arm--a bullet that had been shot into the air as part of a post-wedding ceremony celebration.

READ MORE ›
alt_text

Monday, Jun 5 2017

Hadassah Cutting-Edge Neuropsychiatrist Keynotes Alzheimer’s Conference

“The key is to give medicines much earlier--before the brain material has been destroyed by Alzheimer’s disease,” Dr. Shahar Arzy, head of the Hadassah Medical Organization’s Computational Neuropsychiatry Laboratory, told his audience at the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA)’s New York Educational Conference on May 5, 2017.

READ MORE ›

Donation Questions

donorservices@hadassah.org

(800) 928-0685

Membership Questions

membership@hadassah.org

(800) 664-5646

Missions Department

missions@hadassah.org

(800) 237-1517

Contact Us

40 Wall Street

New York, NY 10005

support@hadassah.org

More ›

Show More