Whitney's surgery to repair her myelomeningocele took about four hours today. As we mentioned yesterday, Whitney's lesion was a little larger than a half dollar. It was slightly wider than it was long. The area under the skin was somewhat larger yet. Our pediatric neurosurgeon operated to place the spinal cord back in the spine. That part of the operation took about two hours. The pediatric plastic surgeon took the better part of an additional two hours to close the skin and muscle over the wound.
Both surgeons gave us positive reports. The pediatric neurosurgeon reported that the injury to Whitney's spinal cord started around L3-L4 (lumbar vertebrae 3 & 4 or roughly near her waist), which is slightly lower than we expected. She retains a small measure of nerve function below that point. The surgeon explained that Whitney will need to lay on her stomach or side for roughly two weeks until the wound heals.
The pediatric plastic surgeon reported that the skin closure went well. If Whitney did not have enough skin around the lesion, the plastic surgeon would have had to make additional incisions to gather more skin from Whitney's sides or use skin grafts. Praise God that the plastic surgeon was able to pull her skin together without resorting to either process.
Whitney is now back in the NICU recovering from surgery. We are going down to see her in a few minutes.