First U.S. fetoscopic spina bifida repair successful at Texas Children's Hospital

Written by Laura Dyrda | September 05, 2014 | Print  |

Surgeons at Texas Children's Fetal Center and Baylor College of Medicine completed the first two-port fetoscopic procedure to repair spina bifida in-utero.

Obstetrician and gynecologist-in-chief at Texas Children's Hospital Michael Belfort, MD, and pediatric neurosurgeon William Whitehead, MD, developed the procedure. The surgery features in-utero, single layer, suture repair through two different four-millimeter incisions in the uterus. Physicians use a carbon dioxide gas technique during the procedure to repair the spina bifida.


Jose Luis Peiro, MD, and Elena Carreras, MD, both also worked on the procedure. The Management of Myelomeningocele Study clinical trial showed fetal surgical repair leads to lower hydrocephalus rates, decreased cerebrospinal fluid shunt need and improved leg function when compared with undergoing the procedure after birth.


Texas Children's Hospital Fetal Center had its first open fetal surgery for spina bifida in 2011 and now is among a few centers who are able to perform the procedure in-utero. This new procedure is designed to reduce risks for the mother during surgery using a fetoscope for a less invasive procedure.


It took several years to prepare for this procedure.


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