Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Prenat Diagn. 1997 Dec;17(13):1247-60.

Operative fetoscopy: new perspective in fetal therapy?

Author information

Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University Hospitals Leuven, Belgium.


In a limited number of conditions in utero surgery may be life-saving, such as some cases of congenital diaphragmatic hernia, cystic adenomatoid malformation of the lung, sacrococcygeal teratoma and lower urinary tract obstruction. Postoperative premature labour and its extreme invasiveness have been major drawbacks for open fetal surgery. More recently the merger of fetoscopy and advanced video-endoscopic surgery has been the basis of the concept of endoscopic fetal surgery. In order to evaluate the opportunities of 'fetendo' surgery, animal models have been developed to test the safety of the endoscopic approach, and the feasibility of surgical manipulations on the fetus. In the non-human primate, a lesser invasiveness of endoscopy over open surgical approach was demonstrated, by a significant decrease in uterine activity in comparison with hysterotomy. The main application of fetoscopy today is the surgical treatment of complicated or abnormal monochorionic twin gestations. Fetoscopic laser coagulation of chorionic plate vessels is suggested as a causal therapy for severe feto-fetal transfusion syndrome. Survival rates are around 55 per cent with an incidence of five per cent of neurological morbidity. Fetoscopic cord ligation is associated with a 66 per cent survival rate, but unfortunately also with a risk of 30 per cent for PPROM prior to 32 weeks. Although still in its early experimental phase, endoscopy seems to offer new hope for surgical fetal therapy. Though conceptually very tempting, the development of endoscopic fetal surgery should follow the formal guidelines, as earlier formulated for open surgery by the International Fetal Medicine and Surgery Society. The prospective registration of worldwide experience is advocated and a randomized trial of laser therapy versus amniodrainage is announced.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Wiley
    Loading ...
    Support Center