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J Neurosurg Pediatr. 2012 Mar;9(3):265-73. doi: 10.3171/2011.12.PEDS11403.

Open fetal surgery for myelomeningocele.

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  • 1Departments of Neurological Surgery, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94143-0112, USA.


In a recently completed randomized, prospective clinical trial, fetal repair for myelomeningocele was shown to result in reduced rates of hydrocephalus requiring placement of a ventriculoperitoneal shunt, improvement in Chiari malformation Type II, and improvement in neurological function compared with standard postnatal repair. Successful fetal surgery requires the active participation and interaction of several clinical teams. Each group has a specific role, and overlap is often required at different points of the treatment plan. Extensive multispecialty discussions with the patient and family are necessary before informed consent can be obtained. Fetal surgery carries significant risks to the mother and fetus and these must be carefully considered prior to a final treatment decision. This review will summarize the evaluation and treatment of patients undergoing fetal repair for myelomeningocele at one institution.

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