Anesthesia for In Utero Repair of Myelomeningocele

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Abstract

Recently published results suggest that prenatal repair of fetal myelomeningocele is a potentially preferable alternative when compared to postnatal repair. In this article, the pathology of myelomeningocele, unique physiologic considerations, perioperative anesthetic management, and ethical considerations of open fetal surgery for prenatal myelomeningocele repair are discussed. Open fetal surgeries have many unique anesthetic issues such as inducing profound uterine relaxation, vigilance for maternal or fetal blood loss, fetal monitoring, and possible fetal resuscitation. Postoperative management, including the requirement for postoperative tocolysis and maternal analgesia, are also reviewed. The success of intrauterine myelomeningocele repair relies on a well-coordinated multidisciplinary approach. Fetal surgery is an important topic for anesthesiologists to understand, as the number of fetal procedures is likely to increase as new fetal treatment centers are opened across the United States.

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