Spina bifida treatment using fetoscope

May 14, 2019

Overview

Edward S. Ahn, M.D., neurosurgeon, and Rodrigo Ruano, M.D. Ph.D., maternal and fetal medicine surgeon, describe a new treatment for spina bifida using a fetoscope.

Traditional spina bifida treatment involves surgically treating after birth. Currently, surgeons are able to fix this condition during the second trimester, through the uterus. Risks with this procedure involve uterine rupture, cesarean birth and premature labor.

A new treatment approved by the FDA allows surgeons to treat spina bifida prior to birth using scopes. Known as fetoscopic surgery for the treatment of spina bifida, this treatment improves outcomes for both baby and mother by using minimally invasive techniques. Unlike other prenatal treatments for spina bifida, this treatment often allows the mother to deliver vaginally with her home care team and improves the likelihood of delivering the infant at term.

Prenatal surgery for spina bifida improves outcomes for the baby's ability to walk, outcomes related to hydrocephalus and the development of Chiari malformation.