Rare Fetal Surgery Gives Apple Valley Baby Chance to Walk


[KSTP TV, March 27, 2015] Six months into Heidi Holthaus' pregnancy, surgeons made an incision in her abdomen and another in her uterus. The doctors then removed her unborn baby girl’s backside from the womb, repaired an opening on the lower part of her spine, and placed her back into the womb where she would stay for another two months. The rare and risky procedure is called open fetal surgery and it will likely keep one-year-old Athena Holthaus from spending her life in a wheelchair. “If the repair is done before birth and the pregnancy is allowed to continue, those babies will have a better outcome,” Dr. Bill Block said.

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