Cecilia Cella from Uruguay was five months pregnant when an ultrasound revealed that her baby had a tumour on his heart. Cecilia and husband Pablo Paladino travelled all the way to Philadelphia, US, for a rare fetal surgery in which an operation is performed on a baby still inside the womb. Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) was the only place where the risky procedure had been done successfully, just once the CBS Philly reported.
It was a rare pericardial teratoma and the only hope was fetal surgery where doctors would operate on the baby Juan’s heart inside the womb. “We never heard this before,” Paladino told CBS. “I started laughing, like what, they do that,” added Cella.
The surgery, when Cecilia was 21 weeks pregnant, was successful. “His heart at the time of surgery was the size of a peanut. The size of the tumour was three-times the size of the heart,” explained Dr Jack Rychik, director of the Fetal Heart Program at CHOP. “Had we waited an additional day, we probably would have been too late.”