First Ever Brain Surgery on a Fetus in the Womb Successful!

First Ever Brain Surgery on a Fetus in the Womb Successful!

A baby’s brain blood artery malformation was surgically fixed while still in the womb for the first time ever!

The infant, who was born in the middle of March, was released from the hospital a few weeks later and hasn’t needed any medicine or other care since, making this revolutionary medical procedure a complete success.

The mother, Kenyatta Coleman, shared via CNN that “I heard her cry for the first time ever and that just, I — I cannot even put into words how I felt in that moment. It was just the most beautiful moment being able to hold her, look at her and then hear her cry.”

The groundbreaking treatment was carried out as part of a clinical trial, according to a new article that was published in the journal Stroke.

The vein of Galen malformation (VOGM), a rare disorder that affects the blood veins that supply oxygenated blood to the brain, is the subject of the ongoing experiment, which aims to discover a novel method for treating it.

Certain arteries in the brain that typically connect to capillaries, small blood vessels that aid in slowing blood flow, do not do so in VOGM.

Instead, blood from the arteries is drained into veins near the base of the brain, where it is pumped at a high pressure.

The blood flow may result in pulmonary hypertension, heart failure, brain tissue damage or loss, hydrocephalus, or excessive blood pressure in the lungs’ arteries.

As per the American Heart Association VOGM is thought to impact 1 in 60,000 babies. After birth, the normal course of therapy includes cutting off the artery to vein connections inside the malformation.

The development of heart failure can’t always be stopped with this operation, and it is often too late to stop permanent or life threatening brain damage.

As a result, a trial was started by a group of medical professionals in order to treat VOGM while the fetus is still in the womb.

The novel method makes use of an intrauterine procedure intended to lessen the aggressive blood flow through the VOGM.

The trial will reportedly involve 20 infants in total, with Denver Coleman, the most recent patient, being the first to receive the treatment.

The lead author of this case report, Dr. Darren Orbach, shared in the AHA statement that “In our first case, we were thrilled to see the aggressive decline usually seen after birth did not appear. We’re pleased to report that at 6 weeks, the infant is progressing really well, on no medications, eating normally, gaining weight and is now back home. There are no signs of negative effects on the brain.”

YouTube video

At 34 weeks and 2 days pregnant, Denver and Kenyatta Coleman had the “transuterine” surgery.

Following the operation, Kenyatta Coleman started to leak amniotic fluid, indicating that her “water had begun to burst,” and two days later, physicians induced her to give birth.

The infant was observed in the neonatal critical care unit for a number of weeks before being discharged, although neither cardiovascular assistance nor surgery was necessary after delivery.

“While this is just our first treated patient and it is vital we continue the trial to assess the efficacy and safety in other patients, this approach has potential to mark a shift in managing vein of Galen malformation where we fix the malformation prior to the birth and head off the heart failure before it happens, rather than trying to reverse it after,” Orbach said.


Katherine is just getting her start as a journalist. She attended a technical school while still in high school where she learned a variety of skills, from photography to nutrition. Her enthusiasm for both natural and human sciences is real so she particularly enjoys covering topics on medicine and the environment.

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