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Doctors Demonstrate Breakthrough Fetal Surgery as a Definitive Treatment of a Rare Disorder

Vein of Galen Malformation (VOGM) – a rare blood vessel abnormality of the brain, is characterized by direct artery-venous blood transfer as the connections lack capillaries, which help slow-down blood flow in the meninges. 

Recently, a breakthrough in-utero surgical procedure through guided ultrasound treated an unborn child with VOGM. Doctors detected an enlarged heart in a fetus during an ultrasound and diagnosed the rare condition. To treat the condition, doctors performed fetal surgery, in-utero, guided by ultrasound. The procedure, which was performed at 34 weeks gestation, aimed to prevent the severe multiorgan pathophysiology associated with VOGM that typically develops after birth. The details of the surgery were published in the journal Stroke. 

The baby was born without requiring cardiovascular support or postnatal embolization, and neurological exams did not detect an abnormality. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) also confirmed improvement in the condition. 

This novel approach represents a significant change in VOGM management, shifting from a strategy focused on reversing severe postnatal symptoms to definitive treatment through preventive surgery.

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