UAE-based doctor becomes first Indian-origin to perform In-Utero Spina Bifida Repair

NewsDrum Desk
13 Jun 2023
New Update

Dubai, Jun 13 (PTI) A team of doctors led by an Indian-origin fetal medicine expert in the UAE have successfully performed a potentially life-changing in-utero procedure on a pregnant patient from South America.


Dr Mandeep Singh, a renowned fetal medicine expert, who became the first Indian-origin doctor to perform In-utero spina bifida repair surgery, says he is hopeful of collaborating with institutes and specialists in India to increase accessibility to such advanced treatments.

Singh, who has family roots in Mumbai, performed the highly complex surgery along with a team of doctors at The Burjeel Medical City Hospital in Abu Dhabi.

They repaired a spinal defect in a baby of 24 weeks gestation, a press release said on Tuesday.


The patient from Colombia underwent the rare open spina bifida foetal procedure in the hopes of preventing short-term and long-term complications for her baby, the hospital said.

Spina bifida is a birth defect that happens when the bones of the spine do not form, leading to the spinal cord being left exposed to amniotic fluid and resulting in permanent disability.

The condition can often lead to permanent loss of bowel and urinary bladder control, paralysis, or weakness of both lower limb muscles.


Calling the procedure a "cutting-edge treatment" that has the potential to greatly improve outcomes in babies, Singh said, "I am hopeful that collaborating with institutes and specialists in India, we can increase accessibility to such advanced treatments in the country, eliminating the need to travel abroad.” In-utero spina bifida repair is not readily available everywhere and is performed by approximately only 14 centres worldwide.

Singh, a consultant at Fetal Medicine and Obstetrics and CEO of Burjeel Farha (a division of women and children) at the hospital, said that during the fetal repair surgery, a small incision is made on the uterus, and the back of the baby is exposed to allow the neurosurgeon to close the spina bifida defect.

“We use a synthetic patch to cover the defect. The amniotic fluid is then instilled back into the cavity, and the uterus is closed back up. The baby will remain in the womb for the remainder of the pregnancy and will be delivered by caesarean section at 37 weeks gestation,” said Singh, who has also worked as Consultant in Fetal Medicine at Fetal Medicine & Research Institute, King’s College Hospital, London. PTI GRS AKJ GRS GRS