Two unborn babies had their spines repaired while they were still in the womb in a first of it’s kind operation in UK.
The operations were carried out by a team of 30 doctors at University College Hospital in London.
The babies had spina bifida, a condition when the spinal cord fails to develop properly and has a gap in it.
It is usually treated after birth, but the earlier it is repaired the better for long-term health and mobility.
During the 90-minute surgery carried out this summer, doctors cut an opening in the womb and then stitched together the baby's gap in the spine.
The procedure is risky and can cause premature labour, but researchers are exploring less invasive keyhole methods.
"We put the mum on some drugs that help relax them, but there is still a risk," said UCL Professor Anne David.
Spina bifida is a condition happens when the baby's neural tube - an early form of the baby's brain and spinal cord - does not form properly and leads to gaps or defects in the spinal cord and bones of the spine.
"There were some children who had grown up following foetal surgery who were walking and you wouldn't expect them to be walking if they hadn't had it," said Prof David, of the recent US study.
Mum and babies are recovering well, the hospital said.
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