A U.S.-based Nigerian surgeon Dr. Oluyinka Olutoye has wowed members of the medical community around the world with his recent successful surgical operation on a 23-week-old fetus. According to Ourdailyreporters, Olutoye decided to operate on the unborn baby girl after routine check-ups diagnosed that she had sacrococcygeal teratoma, a rare, often life-threatening condition that forms a malignant tumor at the base of a baby’s tailbone. Before Olutoye’s intervention, a number of doctors from different hospitals had told the baby’s mother that it was in her best interest to terminate the pregnancy.
The mother, Margaret Boemer, had gone for a routine pregnancy ultrasound check up, when it was discovered that her unborn child (whom she had named LynLee Hope) would require emergency surgery in order to survive.
“16 weeks [after] being pregnant, I found out that our baby had a sacrococcygeal teratoma,” Boemer said.
Doctors told her that “LynLee didn’t have much of a chance. [She had a] 50/50 chance of making it [because] the tumor was so big. I was coming for regular checkups and by the 23rd week, the tumour was shutting her heart down and causing her to go into cardiac failure.”
Olutoye, who is a pediatric surgeon and co-director of Texas Children’s Fetal Center, presented the worried parents with an option for surgery. Boemer describes it as a choice between “allowing the tumor to take over her body or giving her a chance at life.” Olutoye proceeded to operate on the 23-week-old baby by taking her out of her mother’s womb, excising the tumor, before returning the baby inside the womb.
LynLee was born 12 weeks later through a cesarean operation at 36 weeks old. At birth, doctors pronounced her as healthy and eight days later she underwent further surgery as Olutoye removed smaller parts of the tumor that he could not access during the initial operation.
Olutoye graduated from Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile-Ife, Nigeria, in 1988 and received his Ph.D in anatomy from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia in 1996.
He is a member of the International Fetal Medicine and Surgery Society and is a fellow of the Surgical Section of the American Academy of Pediatrics and American College of Surgeons. He is also a fellow of the West African College of Surgeons.