Health and Medicine

Child "Born Twice" After Earlier Surgery To Remove Fetal Tumor

A baby in Texas has been “born twice” after doctors had previously already removed the developing fetus from the uterus in order to remove a tumor developing on the child while in the womb. The healthy baby girl, who has been named Lynlee, was operated on by medics working out of the Texas Children’s Fetal Center, and is now doing brilliantly.

Sixteen weeks into the pregnancy, the child’s mother, Mrs Boemer, found out that her unborn child had what is known as a sacrococcygeal teratoma, which is a type of tumor that develops at the tail bone of the fetus. Around one in every 35,000 live births are thought to be affected by the growths, though in some cases the baby is brought to term naturally in the womb before being operated on. In the case of Lynlee, however, doctors took a more dramatic approach.

By the time the surgery took place, the tumor developing on the fetus had grown to almost the same size as the unborn baby itself. Lynlee was given just a 50 percent chance of survival, as the growth was diverting so much blood from her it was causing her to go into cardiac failure as her tiny body struggled to cope. The mother was given the choice of either letting her unborn child die, or attempting the surgery.

“It was an easy decision for us: We wanted to give her life,” Mrs Boemer told CNN.

The operation took a total of five hours, as the 1-pound, 3-ounce fetus was removed from the womb at 23 weeks and 5 days. The tumor turned out to be so large that a “huge cut” was needed to get Lynlee out of the uterus, meaning that she “was hanging in the air” as the operation was conducted. As Dr Darrell Cass, a member of the team who carried out the surgery, explained: “Essentially, the fetus is outside, like completely out, all the amniotic fluid falls out, it’s actually quite dramatic.”

The doctors worked to remove as much of the tumor as possible before inserting her back into the womb and stitching the uterus back up. During the operation, the child’s heart very nearly stopped beating, but was saved by a heart specialist who was present throughout the surgery. Following the procedure, the mother was confined to bed in order to prevent further complications, and managed to carry the child close to full term before Lynlee was “born again” through a cesarean section on June 6.

Weighing in at 5lb 5oz, just shy of the normal range for a healthy new born, Lynlee had to wait eight days before going under the knife again, where doctors finally removed the parts of the tumor that remained at the base of her spine. Now at home, Lynlee is “doing beautifully,” according to Dr Cass.

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