Doctors Reunite with Patients They Treated Inside the Womb - NBC 6 South Florida

Doctors Reunite with Patients They Treated Inside the Womb

Doctors Ruben Quintero and Eftichia Kontopoulos saved Leyna Gonzalez, now 2, who had a life-threatening tumor growing from her mouth

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    Doctors Reunite with Patients They Treated Inside the Womb

    It was a reunion like no other Saturday as doctors met with the patients they operated on while still inside of their mothers' wombs. Doctors Ruben Quintero and his wife Eftichia Kontopoulous, who treat birth defects in utero via minimally invasive surgeries, were at Jungle Island for the Fetal Reunion 2012. Quintero told NBC 6 South Florida that he remembered each specific case. (Published Sunday, Nov. 4, 2012)

    It was a reunion like no other Saturday as doctors met with the patients they operated on while still inside of their mothers' wombs.

    Doctors Ruben Quintero and his wife Eftichia Kontopoulous, who treat birth defects in utero via minimally invasive surgeries, were at Jungle Island for the Fetal Reunion 2012.

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    Two-year-old Leyna Gonzalez was once a fetus with a life-threatening tumor growing from her mouth. She, like many others, was saved by the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center doctors after other experts suggested her mother terminate the pregnancy.

    "I said there has to be somebody, I don't care if I have to travel or what i need to do, that does surgery in utero," she said.

    Her daughter's surgery became the first successful case of its kind.

    "They did it and whenever [the tumor] was completely severed off, it floated away from her face," she told NBC 6 South Florida. "I could see her face for the first time. It was amazing."

    Leyna Gonzalez was joined by dozens of other former patients, many of whom were twins. The doctors commonly treat twin transfusion syndrome, a defect that results in one baby getting more blood than the other.

    "I do remember the actual surgeries and how easy or difficult it was at the time to accomplish the surgery," Quintero said. "So seeing them running around with their parents -- it's a great sense of pleasure of course."

    As the event came to a close, the doctors and children released butterflied in honor of the babies who don't make it.

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