Fetal Treatment

Fetal Treatment CenterThe Division of Neonatology at UCSF is closely affiliated with the Fetal Treatment Center, which provides expertise before birth for fetuses with birth defects.

The UCSF Fetal Treatment Center combines the talents of specialists in pediatric surgery, genetics, obstetrics/perinatology, radiology, nursing, and neonatal medicine. Our team of doctors, nurses, and social workers work together to coordinate all aspects of care from diagnosis to postoperative recovery and long-term follow-up.

Under the direction of Dr. Michael Harrison, the Fetal Treatment Center was the first institution to develop fetal surgery techniques. The first open fetal surgery in the world was performed at UCSF over 2 decades ago. The Fetal Treatment Center presently has more experience with fetal surgery and endoscopic fetal intervention (FETENDO fetal surgery) than any other institution in the world. Their dedication to research, innovation and clinical application has included the training of many dedicated physicians.

Many of the ICN patients who have congenital anomalies have been referred to UCSF through the Fetal Treatment Center. The more common conditions referred to the Fetal Treatment Center include:

  • amniotic band syndrome
  • congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH)
  • congenital heart disease
  • cystic adenomatoid malformation of the lung (CCAM)
  • meningomyelocele (spina bifida)
  • abdominal wall defects (i.e., gastroschisis and omphalocele)
  • obstructive uropathy
  • pulmonary sequestration
  • twin-twin transfusion syndrome and other twin pregnancy complications

Fetal Treatment Research

The Fetal Treatment Center recently concluded an NIH-sponsored, randomized, controlled trial of fetal tracheal occlusion for severe congenital diaphragmatic hernia. An NIH-sponsored controlled trial of fetal surgical correction of meningomyelocele is currently in progress. Also, a new investigation of prenatal steroids for treatment of prenatally diagnosed CCAMs is currently underway.