Mayo Clinic's approach

In a caring and compassionate environment, highly skilled fetal surgery experts at Mayo Clinic Children's Center offer the most advanced procedures and technology for treating fetal defects before birth to improve outcome. Coming to an informed decision about whether fetal surgery is the best approach involves:

  • Thorough and personalized medical assessment of both you and your unborn baby
  • On-site, top-quality laboratory services for fast and accurate results
  • Discussion of the options, such as choosing between open fetal surgery or less invasive procedures
  • Evaluation of the potential benefits and risks of fetal surgery
  • Education for you and key supporters of your choosing, with ample opportunity to get questions answered
  • Discussion of short-term and long-term follow-up care and how to transition to the Mayo Clinic areas that provide the necessary care


With Mayo Clinic's collaborative multispecialty approach, experts for both you and your child come together. This team approach results in a personalized treatment plan and patient-centered care.

Our fetal surgery multispecialty team includes experts in maternal and fetal medicine, pediatric surgery, neonatology, radiology and anesthesiology, as well as pediatric otolaryngology, pediatric nephrology, pediatric urology and pediatric neurosurgery, as needed. Our team also works to establish collaborative relationships with your home physician.

Advanced technology and treatment

Mayo Clinic experts use the latest diagnostic technology and treatment procedures for detecting and treating birth defects. These include:

  • Doing a fetal ultrasound (sonogram), such as a 3D or 4D ultrasound, Doppler ultrasound or fetal echocardiography
  • Scanning and printing a 3D model of the fetus before surgery to assess the condition and accurately plan for the fetal surgery
  • Performing less invasive types of fetal surgery for select conditions to improve outcomes for both mothers and babies
  • Performing open fetal surgery in more-complicated cases using advanced techniques to help fetal development, reduce disability and improve outcomes

Spina bifida treatment using a fetoscope

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. Watch the video.

NICU and NICU Follow-up Clinic

Mayo Clinic's Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) specializes in family-centered care of premature and critically ill newborn infants. Families are welcome at the baby's bedside and will find many support spaces throughout the unit, such as family waiting areas and rooms, parent sleep rooms and breast-feeding rooms.

Mayo's NICU Follow-up Clinic ensures continuity of quality care after the baby's discharge from the NICU.

Expertise and rankings

Mayo Clinic Children's Center in Minnesota is one of only a few medical centers in the United States with the expertise to perform fetal surgery to improve outcomes of babies with birth defects. These outstanding fetal surgeons and their experienced teams are recognized as national leaders in both treatment and research.

Continuity of care

As part of the Mayo Clinic Children's Center, a multispecialty team of Mayo experts trained in treating birth defects that require continued follow-up will care for your child after birth and help manage his or her condition. For example, Mayo Clinic pediatric experts provide the highest quality care for children with spina bifida and manage any complications.

Mayo Clinic provides lifelong care for children with birth defects, so your child will be able to transition to adult care when the time arrives — and be assured that the highest quality care will continue.

Costs and insurance

Mayo Clinic works with hundreds of insurance companies and is an in-network provider for millions of people.

In most cases, Mayo Clinic doesn't require a physician referral. Some insurers require referrals, or may have additional requirements for certain medical care. All appointments are prioritized on the basis of medical need.

Learn more about appointments at Mayo Clinic.

Please contact your insurance company to verify medical coverage and to obtain any needed authorization prior to your visit. Often, your insurer's customer service number is printed on the back of your insurance card.