Doctors from Baylor College of Medicine and the Texas Children's Hospital in Houston recently performed a pioneering surgery that involved operating on the fetus while still inside the uterus, but the uterus is outside of the body, IFLScience.com reported.
They were performing a three hour surgery to correct the spine of a 24-week-old fetus with spin bifida, "a group of conditions where a baby's spine and spinal cord don't develop properly in the womb." Typically doctors repair the spine of babies suffering from this condition within 48 hours of birth, however only 20 percent of those who undergo the procedure can walk independently.
This operation involves lifting the uterus out of the mother's body, inserting a miniature telescope, camera, and grasping tool into the womb, as well as a bright light. The doctor's drained the womb's amniotic fluid and inflated it with carbon dioxide to give themselves room to work. They then used a live video feed to complete the surgery - "mending" the backbone and spinal cord of the fetus.
Read more about the operation in the New York Times.