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Fetal intervention involves in utero surgical treatment of a fetus. Procedures include open fetal surgery, the most invasive, and the less invasive fetendo and fetal image-guided surgery.

Fetal intervention is relatively new. Advancing technologies allow earlier and more accurate diagnosis of diseases and congenital problems in a fetus.

Most problems do not require or are not treatable through fetal intervention. The exceptions are anatomical problems for which correction in utero is feasible and may be of significant benefit in the future development and survival of the fetus. Early correction (prior to birth) of these problems will likely increase the odds of a healthy and relatively "normal" baby.

The pregnant woman bears as much, if not more, risk as her fetus during any form of fetal intervention. Besides the general risk that any surgery bears, there is also a risk to the health of the mother's uterus, potentially limiting her ability to bear more children. The risk is higher than from an elective Cesarean section because:

  • the incision typically will be a classical vertical one, with a greater risk of complications in subsequent pregnancies
  • the longer duration of the surgery, while the fetal intervention is performed
  • delivery of the baby will require a second Cesarean section days or weeks later

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