Parents Welcome Baby Girl Who Underwent Spinal Surgery In Womb
A baby who underwent pioneering surgery on her spine while she was in the womb has been born completely healthy. Parents Georgia Axford and Tyler Kelly discovered that their daughter had spina bifida during a routine 20-week scan.
The condition meant that their daughter had a gap in her spine and if untreated it could cause weakness or paralysis in the lower limbs leaving sufferers dependent on support or crutches and in severe cases they can be wheelchair bound.
The only treatment available in the UK was surgery by a doctor who had never actually performed the operation before. Instead the couple decided to travel to Germany for the procedure and took out a loan for £9,000, which they have now set up a GoFundMe site to try and recuperate.
During the three-hour operation surgeons inserted a fetoscope (a small telescope with a camera and light and two instruments) through a hole in Georgia's abdomen.
Surgeons then attached a 3.5cm collagen patch over Piper's spine when she weighed just 2.1oz.
The patch covered the exposed nerves and repairs cognitive and lower limb development, to stop the baby being paralysed.
After the successful operation on June 13 Georgia was told to rest until her due date on October 2.
However, on the day of their follow-up scan, six weeks later, Georgia went into early labour. She was rushed to Southmead Hospital, Bristol, where doctors performed an emergency C-section delivering Piper-Kohl born at 9:31am, on July 28, weighing 3lb 10oz.
The baby girl even shares a birthday and name with Professor Thomas Kohl, the surgeon who performed the operation.
Georgia, 19, said: "She was covered in wires when she was first born but it was just the best feeling to see her. She was just so tiny.
"You could really see the mark on her spine when she was first born. It really makes you think how incredible the procedure was.
"I just absolutely love being a mum.
"We named Piper after the surgeon as a thank you for all he has done.
"I would honestly recommend the surgery to anyone who is a similar boat to us. It was a bit scary at the time and was a lot of money but it was absolutely worth it.
"I'm just so happy she's here."
Born nine weeks premature, Piper spent the first two months of her life in intensive care.
However, Georgia and Tyler won't know for certain whether the operation has been a success until Piper starts to walk - but so far doctors can't see any signs of a problem.
Georgia said: "We won't know if the operation completely worked until she starts walking, but all looks good at the moment.
"In a couple of months she'll be able to sit up by herself so that might help show if it worked."
Proud dad Tyler said: "We were a bit anxious when Georgia went into labour but Piper was actually a lot bigger than we were anticipating.
"When she was first born there was a little open red wound from the operation.
"It wasn't until we took her home that we felt like proper parents. Beforehand we had all the nurses around us so we didn't feel alone.
"She was also born on Professor Thomas Kohl's birthday so it all just fell into place.
"We're still in contact with him and keep him posted on Piper's progress.
"We'd love to take Piper to Germany so she could meet him."
Featured Image Credit: SWNS