European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology vol:92 issue:1 pages:151-9
Fetoscopy has consolidated its position in fetal medicine, thanks to a combination of insight into the pathophysiology of selected conditions that are amenable to fetal surgery and the technical innovations in endoscopic equipment. In clinical practice, two types of fetoscopy can be discerned: Obstetrical Endoscopy and Endoscopic Fetal Surgery. The first involves surgical interventions on the placenta, umbilical cord and fetal membranes. Nd:YAG laser coagulation of placental vessels in case of feto-fetal transfusion syndrome and cord occlusion in monochorionic pregnancy are the most typical procedures. The second type addresses some rare fetal conditions requiring in utero surgery; most experience has been gathered with congenital diaphragmatic hernia. Endoscopic fetal surgery has a different historical and experimental background than obstetrical endoscopy, but they both share technical aspects as well as potential side effects. In this review, we aimed at bringing together currently available experience. We suggest that future developments of fetal endoscopic operations will involve a mixture of concepts from both fetoscopy types to reduce maternal invasiveness and complications, eventually improving acceptance by parents and doctors. We encourage the registration of all experience in a yet available open registry for prospective data collection, supported by the European Commission, with as primary target the assessment of maternal and fetal safety.