What is Open Fetal Surgery?
Open fetal surgery (intrauterine fetal surgery) is an operative procedure requiring general anesthesia for the mother. The anesthesia relaxes the uterus and passes through the placenta to the fetus. This intervention is reserved for operative procedures or surgery on the unborn baby, such as Myelomeningocele (MMC) repair, debulking of a Sacrococcygeal Teratoma (SCT) or excision of a solid Congenital Pulmonary Adenomatoid Malformation (CPAM). The fetus is returned to the uterus post fetal procedure for the remainder of the pregnancy. The post-surgery hospital stay is approximately five days and bedrest is required for the remainder of the pregnancy. When the time comes, the delivery is by C-section.
Fetal Surgery for Myelomeningocele
Prenatal repair of myelomeningocele involves a fetal surgery handled by a multidisciplinary team of experts. The procedure is much like a cesarean section however the fetus is not removed and the umbilical cord is not touched. An incision is made in the mother’s abdomen and uterus just large enough for the spinal defect to be operated upon. The neural tube and other layers of the back are surgically closed by the neurosurgeon. After the procedure, the incisions in the mother are closed.
After the procedure, patients will remain in the hospital for 4–5 days for recovery. They are cared for by skilled nurses with years of experience in fetal surgical care and the fetus will be monitored via ultrasound. Upon hospital discharge the mother is required to stay locally for at least 2-3 weeks. Travel home is determined by the mother’s condition and the availability of medical services.
– sourced from the UC San Francisco Fetal Treatment Center website
To learn more about Fetal Surgery at UCSF, visit: https://fetus.ucsfmedicalcenter.org/
Maddux and I had fetal surgery on July 8th, 2014 at UC San Francisco. He was 22 weeks gestational age and weighed just over one pound. The wonderful team at UCSF took great care of the both of us until we were ready to head back home.