DALLAS – Uriah Prowell was a few days old when he began kicking his legs, signaling early success from leading edge spina bifida surgery performed when he was still in his mother’s womb. Performed at The Fetal Care Center at Medical City Children’s Hospital on June 25, 2018, Uriah’s open fetal surgery represents the first time this procedure has been performed in North Texas.

When she was 18 weeks pregnant, Uriah’s mother, Sarah, received the news that her unborn son had spina bifida. Spina bifida is a birth defect caused when the spine and spinal cord do not form properly, in many cases leaving a portion of the spine exposed. Without medical intervention, the condition causes differing levels of disability, which can include paralysis and lifelong bladder issues.

Sarah was referred to Timothy Crombleholme, MD, director of The Fetal Care Center at Medical City Children’s Hospital in Dallas. Dr. Crombleholme is one of only a handful of surgeons nationwide qualified to perform open fetal surgery and he is widely recognized for his skill and successful surgical outcomes.

A multi-disciplinary team of specialists cared for Uriah and Sarah including a maternal-fetal specialist, pediatric neurosurgeon and specialized, highly trained fetal nurses. This complex open fetal surgery should help mitigate lifelong disabilities for Uriah caused by spina bifida.

“Performing open fetal surgery is a team effort among many exceptionally skilled clinical experts,” said Timothy Crombleholme, MD, Medical Director of the Fetal Care Center at Medical City Children’s Hospital. “The comprehensive care team at The Fetal Care Center at Medical City Children’s Hospital will help care for Uriah as he grows up and will do all that we can to build on the fetal repair and support a much improved quality of life for him.”

The Fetal Care Center at Medical City Children’s Hospital is one of only a very few centers in the world with the capability to perform the full range of fetal interventions.