When Keri McCartney was just 23 weeks pregnant a routine ultrasound showed that her baby had a life threatening tumor attached to her tailbone.
Upon inspection it was shown to be full of blood vessels and was as big as the fetus itself(the size of a grapefruit). The tumor was noncancerous … but still deadly.
The McCartneys’ obstetrician had never seen such a tumor in all her years of practice. After some research, she discovered that Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston — six hours away from the family’s Laredo home — was one of only three hospitals in the world that specialized in such conditions.
“This is incredibly rare. It’s about one in 40,000 births,” Dr. Darrell Cass said. “Many times, these tumors can grow and remain small and they don’t really affect the fetus very significantly.
In Macie’s instance, this tumor grew incredibly rapidly … and basically it was stealing the blood that her body needed to grow. She would have died if nothing had been done.”
Even though they were give just a 10% chance of survival, the couple headed to Houston for the complicated surgery.
“It required that Mrs. McCartney went under a very, very deep anesthesia, about seven times deeper than the average operation,” Dr. Cass said. “That’s necessary in order to have the uterus very, very relaxed.”
He and two other surgeons opened Keri’s abdomen and brought her uterus entirely outside her body. “We had to find an area of the uterus that we could open safely so that we didn’t disturb the placenta,” he explained.
When they found such a place, they opened the relaxed womb and extracted about 80 percent of Macie Hope’s body — which weighed no more than a quarter of a pound — leaving just the head and upper body in the womb. Exposing the fetus to the air carried the danger that she would go into cardiac arrest, and the surgeons worked quickly to remove the tumor and return Macie to the safety of the womb.
That part of the four-hour procedure took about 20 minutes. The surgeons then had to carefully close up the uterus so that it would be watertight, to keep the amniotic fluid from leaking out.
We wish them the best!!
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