Doctors Perform First-Ever Brain Surgery on Baby in Womb


by Hamna Bano

10 Best Activities



Doctors in Boston have saved an unborn child’s life from certain death after performing brain surgery while the child was unborn. It is one-of-its-kind surgery performed by cutting into the womb of a mother, then the baby’s skull, and then operating on the developing brain. 

The baby was suffering from the vein of Galen malformation at 30 weeks. Children usually born with this condition have a 30 percent chance of dying before they reach the age of 11. 

The condition affecting the child occurs when the arteries in the brain malfunction and drain the blood directly into the veins, whereas generally, it has to go into the capillaries. This can result in flooding the heart with blood and can lead to dangerously high blood pressure.


To guide the surgery, an ultrasound was used to identify the artery and perform the surgery. Two days later, the mother gave birth to her child, and the baby was born without any birth defects. 

In order to expand the use of the surgery, researchers are working with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to perform trials on this surgery’s effectiveness. 

The malformation was identified in the woman when she was 34 weeks pregnant. It was done by using an MRI machine. It sowed an overly wide falcine sinus which is a curved vein in the brain that drains the artery. 

A needle was used to breach the lower abdomen of the woman. Then, by using ultrasound, they cut into the uterine wall and proceeded to slice into the unborn child’s brain. 

One of the surgeons involved in the surgery said that “This particular approach is expected to mark a paradigm shift in the management of Galen malformation.” 

We managed to repair the information before birth and head off heart failure before it occurs, rather than trying to reverse it after the birth,”  he added. 

All eyes are on this new approach to surgery so that more lives can be saved in the future.