Fetal Surgery

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Prenatal Surgery
We are living in the age of medical breakthroughs and advances in technology. With the advancement of ultrasound, this allowed doctors to view the fetus in great detail. Doctors now are alerted to fetal anomalies and are given the opportunity to correct them before childbirth. One of these major advances is prenatal surgery. Prenatal surgery is a surgical procedure performed on a fetus prior to birth. Prenatal surgery, also called fetal surgery, antenatal surgery, or maternal-fetal surgery is performed under circumstances in which the fetus is not expected to live long after birth without prenatal intervention. Prenatal surgery usually requires a general anesthetic, although sometimes an epidural anesthetic to numb the abdominal region may be used. The fetus receives the anesthetic via the mother's blood. An anesthesiologist and a perinatologist monitor the heart rates of the mother and fetus during the procedure. ("thefreedictionary.com") The first successful fetal operations were carried out in the 1920’s on various animal subjects. The first human fetal surgery was performed in 1963. The surgery was a blood transfusion to the fetus with the condition “Rh incompatibility”. This condition means the fetus’s Rh- positive red blood cells are being destroyed by its Rh- negative immune system. The surgery was performed by A.William Liley in Auckland, New Zealand, he used x-rays to see the fetus and guide his needle. ("http://science.jrank.org/pages/5466/Prenatal-Surgey-History-fetal-surgery.html") With the introduction of the ultrasound machine, a doctor could bounce sound waves into the pregnant woman’s abdomen and create an image of the fetus on a TV-like screen. ("http://science.jrank.org/pages/5466/Prenatal-Surgey-History-fetal-surgery.html") Amniocentesis made way for genetic testing to determine other genetic diseases. Having these new tools for prenatal diagnosis now makes it possible to identify fetal abnormalities. On April 26th,...
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