Over the past several decades society has been witness to a transformation in its view of the fetus as a patient. This in part is due to high-resolution obstetrical ultrasound and other prenatal screening and diagnostic techniques that have allowed doctors to better understand fetal conditions. Until recently, there has been limited success in the treatment of fetal and placental problems. Parents were left with few options once a fetal abnormality was diagnosed. Fortunately, recent technological advances in microsurgical instrumentation have allowed surgical access into the womb such that there is minimal disturbance to the pregnancy and the mother.
This technique, called operative fetoscopy, is performed under local anesthesia via an incision that is less than half of one centimeter. A wide variety of fetal abnormalities have been addressed via operative fetoscopy, including twin-twin transfusion syndrome, monochorionic twins with selective intrauterine growth restriction, acardiac/TRAP sequence and other discordant anomalous twins, lower urinary tract obstruction (posterior urethral valves), congenital diaphragmatic hernia, fetal and placental tumors, fetal cardiac abnormalities, and amniotic bands, to name a few. Please click on the individual fetal conditions listed above for further details.