Fetoscopy is a technique that utilizes a small camera or scope to examine and perform procedures on the fetus during pregnancy. The scope is introduced through a small incision on the mother's abdomen and placed into the amniotic sac through the uterus. This allows a visual assessment of any abnormalities during pregnancy. Fetoscopy is used for several different diseases and has been used to perform surgical procedures and collecting biopsies.
Historically, fetoscopy has been utilized for many different fetal conditions. However, only three disease conditions routinely utilize this technique.
Please keep in mind that fetoscopy is a rarely utilized procedure and for each patient diagnosed with any of the above conditions, only a few will need fetal intervention. The recommendation to perform fetal intervention and fetoscopy will be determined by your team of doctors at the Center and discussed with you.
Type of delivery - If all goes well with the fetoscopic intervention, your pregnancy will be allowed to progress to term and depending on the condition, delivery usually does not require a Cesarean delivery. The need for this fetal intervention should not impact your type of delivery. The delivery plan should be carefully discussed between the mother and the obstetrician.
Place of delivery - Depending on the condition, your baby may or may not need special medical care after birth. If all the prenatal monitoring suggests that your baby is doing well, the baby can be delivered at the hospital of your choice. However, the hospital should be prepared to handle any intensive care of your newborn and have a neonatal intensive care unit with the capability to provide specialized care.
Time of delivery - There is no reason to intentionally induce early delivery. After the fetoscopic procedure, your pregnancy will be closely monitored. The team at the Center may recommend early delivery for pregnancies that appear to be in danger.
The entire team will carefully plan for the fetoscopy procedure with preparation to handle all potential complications. Generally, the procedure is performed under sedation and local anesthesia. Your doctors will repeat a detailed ultrasound to confirm the problem and identify the abnormalities. A small skin incision is made to allow the placement of the scope. Once inside the amniotic sac, your doctors will perform the necessary procedure. On occasion, the fetoscopy procedure cannot be performed with a small skin incision due to the location of the fetuses and placenta in the uterus. In these situations, the procedure requires a larger incision to expose the uterus in order to provide a safe window for the scope.
The fetoscopy procedure is performed in the operating room with all the special equipment necessary to ensure the safety of you and your baby. Afterwards, the mother will be admitted to the Women's Center to monitor for preterm labor and complications at Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital.
The major risk of fetoscopy is injuring and losing the fetus during the procedure. The risks and benefits of the procedure will be carefully explained. If all goes well with the procedure, your pregnancy will be carefully monitored for preterm labor and premature delivery.
When you contact The Fetal Center, you will be in touch with a dedicated coordinator who will walk you through the process step-by-step and help you to understand every aspect of your care.
The Fetal Center at Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital
UT Professional Building
6410 Fannin, Suite 210
Houston, Texas 77030
To contact The Fetal Center at Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital, please fill out the form below.
Located within the Texas Medical Center, The Fetal Center is affiliated with Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital, McGovern Medical School at UTHealth, and UT Physicians.