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Best Pract Res Clin Obstet Gynaecol. 2012 Oct;26(5):669-82. doi: 10.1016/j.bpobgyn.2012.03.003. Epub 2012 Apr 27.

Maternal-fetal surgery for structural malformations.

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  • 1Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment and The Children's Center for Fetal Research, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


Although most prenatally diagnosed correctable anatomic abnormalities are best addressed by surgical interventions after birth, the outcomes of a small number of severe structural malformations with predicted fetal demise or devastating sequelae postnatally may be improved by correction before birth. Consideration of maternal-fetal surgical intervention is restricted to those anatomic malformations that interfere with normal organ development and which, if alleviated, may permit normal development to proceed. Advances in prenatal diagnosis and technical innovations in the surgical approach to the fetus have resulted in an increase in the successful clinical application of fetal intervention over the past 3 decades. The purpose of this review is to describe the current status of maternal-fetal surgery, with a focus on the congenital anomalies most commonly treated by intervention before birth, and to highlight the key areas for further research in this evolving surgical specialty.

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