Endoscopic creation and repair of fetal cleft lip

Plast Reconstr Surg. 1992 Nov;90(5):743-6; discussion 747-9.


In utero repair of several life-threatening malformations in the human fetus is now a clinical reality, yet fetal surgery still poses significant risks to both the mother and the unborn child. Preterm labor is a major problem and is directly related to the large hysterotomy required for fetal exposure. Endoscopic surgical manipulation of the fetus, through small uterine "ports," solves this problem and may eventually permit fetal intervention for non-life-threatening malformations. In this pilot study we demonstrated the feasibility of performing endoscopic surgery on the fetus in situ. A lip incision was created and repaired using endoscopic microsurgical techniques in midgestation fetal lambs. This represents the first application of this technique for in utero fetal intervention.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cleft Lip / etiology
  • Cleft Lip / surgery*
  • Female
  • Fetoscopy*
  • Fetus / surgery*
  • Insufflation
  • Microsurgery / methods
  • Pilot Projects
  • Pregnancy
  • Sheep
  • Surgery, Plastic / methods*
  • Suture Techniques
  • Wound Healing / physiology*