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Health Beat: Baby Lake: Saved before birth

By Melanie Falcon, Anchor / Reporter, @Melanie_Falcon, MFalcon@wfmz.com
Published On: Dec 24 2013 03:44:15 PM CST
Updated On: Nov 18 2013 05:25:39 PM CST

In a first-of-its-kind surgery, a baby who would not have survived a traditional delivery receives life-saving fetal surgery.

DENVER -

In a first-of-its-kind surgery, a baby who would not have survived a traditional delivery receives life-saving fetal surgery.

"We were 20 weeks pregnant and we had just our regular check-up ultrasound," said Savannah Perry.

Every expectant mother’s greatest fear is when a problem appears during an otherwise normal pregnancy.

"We didn’t even know if she was going to survive. They did another ultrasound about a week later and at that time they said it looked like there was a cyst inside of her lung," Perry said.

A non-cancerous, benign cyst was growing next to her unborn baby's left lung. 

"I think there was a significant risk once she was delivered. She was fine in utero, but once she was delivered, we were asking the lungs to support her.  It just wouldn’t have worked.  So, we knew we had to come up with a separate strategy," said Dr. Timothy Crombleholme, fetal surgeon, surgeon-in-chief, Children’s Hospital Colorado.

The strategy — at 36 weeks, half-delivered, and still attached to the placenta, doctors at Children’s Hospital of Colorado removed the cyst before delivering the baby. 

"By the time Lake was delivered, her left lung was touching her right chest wall.  It had phenomenally increased in size and had compressed the right lung,"  Croblemholme said.

"She is doing amazing. She is learning to walk. She walks around furniture now. She loves anywhere she is not supposed to be," Perry said.

Baby Lake is now 11-months-old and her left lung has almost returned to its normal size. Doctors believe she will make a full recovery and be just like any other kid as she grows up.

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DOWNLOAD and VIEW the full-length interview with Dr. Timothy Crombleholme about saving babies before birth