Baby Cabellotrejo’s birth is a special day not just for his parents but also for the doctors at Texas Children’s Fetal Center. Diagnosed with a very large lung mass, the surgeons performed an open fetal surgery to save his life.
Early in the pregnancy, doctors diagnosed baby boy Cabellotrejo with a very large lung mass, called congenital cystic adenomatoid malformation, or CCAM for short.
The medics advised his parents to shift from their hometown in Austin, to Texas Children’s Fetal Center in Houston where an expert team of surgeons performed an open fetal surgery.
A CCAM is a very rare condition in which an abnormal growth of malformed lung tissue occurs due to abnormal organ development. Because of the overgrowth of bronchioles and in turn the reduced number of normal alveoli in the lungs, this condition may cause difficulty in breathing and other pulmonary effects. The growth may also lead to fetal heart failure which is very difficult to treat in the womb and may result in death.
Doctors began observing the baby’s condition inside the womb, but it began to deteriorate.
Dr. Darrell Cass, co-director of Texas Children’s Fetal Center, and lead surgeon on this case said,
“Fetal surgery was the only hope for this baby boy who was sure to die without surgical intervention. The good outcome achieved in this case is the result of great teamwork, including the contributions by our expert fetal radiologists, cardiologists and maternal fetal surgery team. I am so pleased this baby has recovered fully and now has the hope of a completely normal life.”
The critical surgery was performed on 16 January by a multidisciplinary team of specialists and an expert operating room team and pediatric anesthesiologists at the Texas Children’s Fetal Center.
The mass had overgrown the left lower lung of baby Cabellotrejo. To remove this overgrowth the team had to extract the arm and part of the shoulder of the baby from his mother’s womb. It was a critical procedure where time and precision both mattered.
But the expert surgeons opened the baby’s chest and removed the giant mass, returning him safely back into his mother’s womb in less than 30 minutes. The baby’s heart failure was averted and he was safely placed back in the safety of his mom’s womb. She carried the baby for 11 more weeks and he was delivered, perfectly healthy.
Only two other centers in the world have been successful at treating this rare and complex medical condition.
“Baby Cabellotrejo is a fighter and a survivor. We are ecstatic that his parents have delivered a healthy baby boy,” said Dr. Cass.
Dr. Michael Belfort, obstetrician and gynecologist-in-chief at Texas Children’s Hospital and chair of obstetrics and gynecology at Baylor who was part of the team said,
“Texas Children’s Fetal Center is one of only a few centers in the world capable of such a complex surgical intervention. We have acquired a team of experts from around the world who focus specifically on fetal surgery, all with top technical skills, and a commitment to medical innovation, which makes our center one of a kind.”
It was thanks to their expertise that a precious life was saved.