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Clin Perinatol. 2003 Sep;30(3):493-506.

Fetal surgery for sacrococcygeal teratoma.

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Fetal Treatment Center, University of California-San Francisco, 513 Parnassus Avenue, HSW 1601, San Francisco, CA 94143-0570, USA.


A great deal has been learned regarding the natural history and pathophysiology of fetal SCT. The logic behind fetal intervention for SCT and hydrops appears to be correct, and open and minimal access techniques of fetal intervention have been shown to be feasible. The development of fetal intervention for SCT has mirrored those developed for other diseases such as congenital diaphragmatic hernia. In a recent presentation, Harrison, the original pioneer in fetal surgery, outlined trends in fetal intervention. The first trend is that of moving from open, invasive techniques to minimally invasive techniques. In the case of SCT surgeons are moving from open resection to RFA and possibly to fetoscopic resection. The second trend outlined by Harrison is a movement away from total in utero repair of a defect that recapitulates postnatal treatment and toward manipulation of fetal pathophysiology to reverse life-threatening events. In SCT surgeons employ RFA to ablate causative blood vessels to reverse fetal hydrops with the knowledge that these fetuses will require postnatal resection of the tumor. In contrast to resection, RFA requires less time and significantly less maternal morbidity than open resection. Further study is required to determine the role of minimal access techniques in SCT. Future directions for treatment of fetal SCT with hydrops might include fetoscopic resection or high-intensity ultrasound ablation.

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