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Plymouth mother is first UK woman to have prenatal repair of open spina bifida funded by NHS

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: (Published 17 November 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g6875
  1. Zosia Kmietowicz
  1. 1The BMJ

The first operation to repair open spina bifida in utero funded by the NHS took place in June this year, with the baby born at the end of August in Plymouth.

Fetal medicine specialists from England, Belgium, and Switzerland performed the operation on Gina Beddoe, 35, from Plymouth, at Leuven teaching hospital in Belgium after spina bifida in the fetus was diagnosed in Derriford Hospital in Plymouth at 19 weeks of pregnancy.

The operation, which took two hours and involved 22 surgical staff, was completed at 24 weeks and two days, and Beddoe was discharged back to Plymouth one week later on nifedipine prophylaxis. It was the ninth such operation carried out at the Belgian centre, one of only two units in Europe that offer prenatal open surgery for spina bifida.

Approval for the operation, which cost €10 455 (£8270; $13 020), was given by NHS England within 30 minutes of the request being …

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