SOURCE: Midwest Maternal-Fetal Medicine

November 26, 2013 17:20 ET

Mercy Hospital St. Louis, Midwest Maternal-Fetal Medicine Team Up for Challenging Third-Trimester Spinal Surgery

Dr. Gilbert Webb Manually Monitors Baby During Three-Hour Operation

ST. LOUIS, MO--(Marketwired - Nov 26, 2013) - Most pregnant women have various forms of discomfort, but Anissa Ford knew that beyond being uncomfortable, something was wrong. At 28-weeks pregnant, her upper back and arm had been vaguely aching, and when she tried to stand, her legs felt weak -- eventually to the point where she actually fell down. 

The doctors in the Mercy St. Louis emergency room did a thorough evaluation, including a chest X-ray and MRI. The diagnosis was potentially life-threatening: a tumor in her upper right chest that extended into her spinal canal and was pushing on her spinal cord.

The next day, Anissa was taken for "de-bulking" neurosurgery to remove the tumor from her spine. Dr. Gilbert Webb of Midwest Maternal-Fetal Medicine joined with neurosurgeon Dr. Tanya Quinn and oncologist Dr. Mary Klix for the challenging operation.

Anissa needed to be face down, on an operating table with a hole in the middle used to accommodate her 28-weeks pregnant belly. Because of this positioning, it was impossible to use the usual fetal monitoring equipment that accompanies surgery on a mother in her third trimester. Instead, Dr. Webb monitored the baby's heartbeat and health during the three-hour operation by reaching under the table with an ultrasound transducer.

Mom and baby did well in the surgery and Anissa immediately began to feel better thereafter. Two weeks later, she received a round of a chemotherapy that was baby-safe.

For six weeks after her surgery, Anissa was cared for by the entire team of specialists at Midwest Maternal Fetal Medicine, led by medical director Dr. Webb. Dr. Webb induced her labor five weeks prior to her due date so that stronger, curative chemotherapy could be given without harm to the baby. Because he was a bit early, Annisa's little boy Tyrin required help for a few days after delivery. But currently, at more than two months old, he is doing very well.

Anissa has had typical fatigue from surgery and chemotherapy, but what was initially a life-threatening lymphoma now has completely resolved -- with more than 90 percent chance of a lifetime cure.

This best possible result was accomplished by the rapid and dedicated response of a diverse group of highly trained specialists at Mercy Hospital St. Louis and Midwest Maternal-Fetal Medicine -- one of the few places in the entire Midwest capable of assembling such a team to achieve this happy ending.

About Midwest Maternal-Fetal Medicine
Midwest Maternal-Fetal Medicine (MFM), led by medical director Dr. Gilbert Webb, is a group of specialists, sometimes called perinatologists or high-risk obstetricians, with training in obstetrics and gynecology. The physicians of Midwest MFM have taken their education a step further to gain an in-depth understanding of pregnancy complications and treatments through years of additional training and board certifications. Midwest MFM specialists work in collaboration with obstetricians to provide care for high-risk pregnant women.

Contact Information

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