Open Fetal Surgery

What can be treated with open fetal surgery?

This procedure is becoming very common in many hospitals to treat many different problems. In fact, the Midwest Fetal Care Center’s open fetal surgery program is becoming focused on treating a condition called spina bifida, that causes a buildup of fluid in the brain and can severely damage the spinal cord, according to Madeline Riggs from Children’s Minnesota; Allina Health. Open fetal surgery can treat a lot of other problems as well. Along with Spina Bifida, there are many other problems open fetal surgery can be used for. Often times conditions occur while the baby is developing in the womb. “Among the fetal surgeries performed daily are those used to treat twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, in which identical twins sharing an umbilical cord do not have equal access to nutrients from the mother’s blood; urinary blockages that threaten the kidneys; conditions in which lobes of the lung do not form normally; and the most severe forms of spina bifida, in which the spinal cord does not close,” says Jeffrey Norris, a writer for Berkeley News. Though many of these conditions could be treated after birth, the outcomes of performing surgery while the baby is in the womb are significantly better.

How does this benefit the baby more than other procedures?

Open fetal surgery can benefit the baby more than other forms of treatment because it has better results for treating hard to cure conditions. For example, Children’s Minnesota and Allina Health state that there is no cure for many conditions but open fetal surgery can lead to better cognitions and motor development skills. If these conditions were to be treated after birth they may not heal the same and that could lead to poor cognition or many other problems. Not only does open fetal surgery help with developing those skills, it also can provide benefits that can only be achieved before birth. According to Joseph Lillegard, a pediatric surgeon and research director at the Midwest Fetal Care Center, “Open fetal surgery enables us to potentially save the life of the fetus or provide long-term health benefits that couldn’t be achieved if we waited until after the baby was born.” Open fetal surgery has many benefits that could even save a baby's life, whereas if they were to wait until after birth they may not have that opportunity.

Which hospitals are focusing on open fetal surgery?

Many hospitals in The United States have become focused on fetal care such as open fetal surgery. In fact, “fewer than a dozen centers in North America routinely perform open fetal surgery, including the Midwest Fetal Care Center, a collaboration between Children’s Minnesota and Allina Health,” says a writer from Children’s Minnesota and Allina Health. Among those hospitals is one of the first hospitals that began using open fetal surgery as a common procedure. The Midwest Fetal Care Center is one of the first hospitals to practice open fetal surgery. According to the Star Tribune, six open fetal surgeries have been performed by doctors with the Midwest Fetal Care Center, a collaboration between Allina Health and Children’s Minnesota. Thought as of right now there are only so many hospitals using open fetal surgery, it is slowly becoming more common in more hospitals.

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.