Original Research| Volume 5, ISSUE 3, 100854, March 2023

Open and endoscopic fetal myelomeningocele surgeries display similar in-hospital safety profiles in a large, multi-institutional database

Published:December 29, 2022DOI:


      Open intrauterine fetal myelomeningocele repair has demonstrated decreased ventriculoperitoneal shunting and improved motor outcomes despite maternal and fetal risks. Few data directly compare the safety of open vs endoscopic approaches.


      This study aimed to analyze in-hospital maternal and fetal outcomes of pregnant patients undergoing open vs endoscopic fetal myelomeningocele repair using a large, multi-center database.


      This was a review of the Pediatric Health Information System database from October 1, 2015, to December 31, 2021. All patients who underwent open or endoscopic fetal myelomeningocele repair according to the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision, were identified. Demographics, gestational age, and outcomes were analyzed. Descriptive and univariate statistics were used.


      A total of 378 pregnant patients underwent fetal myelomeningocele repair. The approach was endoscopic in 143 cases (37.8%) and open in 235 cases (62.2%). Overall postprocedural outcomes included no maternal in-hospital mortalities or intensive care unit admissions, a median length of stay of 4 days (interquartile range, 4–5), 14 cases (3.7%) of surgical and postoperative complications, 6 cases (1.6%) of intrauterine infections, 12 cases (3.2%) of obstetrical complications (including preterm premature rupture of membranes), 3 cases (0.8%) of intrauterine fetal demise, and 16 cases (4.2%) of preterm delivery. Compared with an open approach, the endoscopic approach occurred at a later gestational age (25 weeks [interquartile range, 24–25] vs 24 weeks [interquartile range, 24–25]; P<.001) and had an increased rate of intrauterine infection (6 [4.2%] cases vs 0 [0%] case; P=.002). There was no difference between approaches in the rates of surgical complications, obstetrical complications, intrauterine fetal demise, or preterm deliveries.


      Compared with an open approach, endoscopic fetal myelomeningocele repair displays a comparable rate of fetal complications, including intrauterine fetal demise and preterm delivery, and a similar in-hospital maternal safety profile despite an association with increased intrauterine infection.

      Key words

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