Brisbane doctors in first for pre-birth operations

BRISBANE doctors have successfully performed an Australian-first spinal operation on an unborn baby.

On Saturday, surgeons at the Mater Hospital operated on a 24-week-old with spina bifida in its mother's womb.

Usually the surgery is performed after the child is born.

"The surgery went as well as we could have hoped and both mother and baby are doing well," Mater Maternal Fetal Medicine director Dr Glenn Gardener said yesterday.

Spina bifida involves the vertebrae in the spine not closing, leading to the spinal cord and nerves being exposed.

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