What we do
Campaigns & Events
Abortion in N. Ireland
"I need help..."
Make a Donation
Find us on Facebook
09 / 06 / 2008 - Womb surgery saves baby`s leg
Australian surgeons saved the leg of an unborn baby by operating when her mother was just 22 weeks pregnant.
The surgery was carried out after the baby developed a rare condition in which stray bands of tissue wrap around limbs and cut off blood flow.
Melbourne's Monash Medical Centre used lasers to cut away the tissue from the left leg, but left the right leg as the bands were too deeply embedded.
The baby was born in January and is now doing well after plastic surgery.
Doctors believe the little girl, called Leah, will eventually be able to walk on both feet.
The condition, known as Amniotic Band Syndrome, occurs in just one out of every 15,000 births.
Diagnosis is not always made before birth and therefore surgery of this type is not that common.
During the operation last year, doctors pierced the mother's abdomen with a 2mm thick telescopic needle to allow them to apply a laser to cut the band above the baby's left foot.
But the right leg was so badly affected, with the band having cut through to the bone, that surgeon Chris Kimber decided to leave the already swollen and infected foot alone.
Mr Kimber told The Age newspaper: "The right leg was so bad that I did not want to touch it."
At the time of the operation late last year, Leah measured less than 20cm.
She was born eight weeks later and had to undergo plastic surgery on her damaged right leg.
Surgeons removed muscle, tissue and some bone to promote blood flow.
Her mother, Kylie Bowlen, said: "Just hearing the doctor say she'll have full function and basically be able to walk, I know I made the right decision."