Preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative planning for prenatal repair of myelomeningocele and myeloschisis
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Following the publishing of the Management of Myelomeningocele Study, the advantages of in utero repair for fetal myelomeningoceles became points of interest for fetal surgeons. There are many variables that must align in order to have success in this type of repair. When a patient is eligible for this prenatal procedure it is preferable to perform it rather than do the repair postnatally as neurological outcomes for the infant tend to be much better following earlier intervention. It is very important to have a clear preoperative plan before beginning any fetal surgery. In doing so, one limits unforeseen events that may arise. With this in mind, we chose to analyze factors that affect the rates of patch placement (in lieu of a primary skin closure) during the prenatal repair and rates of shunt placement after the infant is born. A retrospective study was conducted on patients who underwent in utero repair for a myelomeningocele or myeloschisis defect at the Colorado Fetal Care Center. Multivariate analyses were performed to identify which preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative factors were statistically significant (p ≤ 0.05) in predicting patch and shunt placement. Neuroimaging was found to be a key tool in predicting patch and shunt placement. Additionally, gestational age during prenatal intervention was found to be predictive of patch placement while the preoperative degree of cerebellar descent relative to the foramen magnum as well as 2-week hindbrain herniation classification were found to be predictive of shunt placement. These crucial findings will give physicians a framework to use when creating their preoperative plans and in doing so will allow for higher chances of success with this complex procedure.