Neonatal surgery is performed on babies shortly after they are born. It is typically meant to treat conditions that cannot be diagnosed and/or addressed while still in the womb. It may also treat conditions that develop shortly after birth. Babies born premature often require neonatal surgery to correct developmental issues.
When it comes time to deliver the baby, mothers who had open fetal surgery will have to deliver via Cesarean section to prevent the surgical wound from rupturing. Mothers who had minimally invasive fetal surgery may still be able to deliver vaginally, but should consult with their doctors.
Fetal and neonatal surgery are typically only considered when treatment is absolutely necessary and no other viable alternatives existThere are many different types of fetal and neonatal procedures, depending on the condition being treated. These range from minimally invasive laparoscopic procedures to more invasive open surgery techniques.
The Children’s Hospital at Sinai has a multidisciplinary team to care for children born with conditions that require corrective surgery. The Institute for Maternal-Fetal Medicine and the Level 3B Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) provide unparalleled care to mothers and their babies at Sinai Hospital. The NICU is in close proximity to labor and delivery and post partum units in the hospital. Neonatologists staff the NICU 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The latest in neonatal diagnostic capabilities include laboratory medicine, radiology (ultrasound, CT and MRI) and echocardiography. Pediatric anesthesia and general surgical services are readily available and some procedures for premature infants such as ligation of patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) can even be performed in the NICU.
In the early stages of normal fetal development, organs including the stomach or intestines grow outside the abdomen. As a fetus grows, the organs move inside the abdomen. Sometimes, the abdomen doesn’t close fully around these organs. When this occurs, we call it an abdominal wall defect.
Care often begins before a baby is born. Our pediatric surgeons will meet with expecting families to counsel them about abnormalities that may have been discovered during a prenatal screening. In some instances, steps can be taken to treat babies while they are still in the womb, offering them the best chance for a healthy start.