Fetal endoscopic surgery: indications and anaesthetic management

Best Pract Res Clin Anaesthesiol. 2004 Jun;18(2):231-58. doi: 10.1016/j.bpa.2004.01.001.


Fetal intervention for certain life-threatening conditions has progressed from being primarily experimental in nature to the standard of care in certain circumstances. While surgical techniques have advanced over the past few years, the anaesthetic goals for these interventions have remained the same; namely, minimizing maternal and fetal risk as well as maximizing the chances of a successful fetal intervention and optimize the conditions necessary to carry the fetus to term gestation. Fetal endoscopic techniques allow access to the fetus without the need for a hysterotomy incision, thus improving the chances of controlled post-operative tocolysis and term gestation after fetal intervention. This procedure, however, is not without associated risks to both fetus and mother. This chapter will address the fetal diseases that may benefit from fetoscopic intervention, the rationale behind why maternal and fetal anaesthesia is required, the various anaesthetics used for these cases and specific considerations of both maternal and fetal physiology that aid in the determination of the best anaesthetic technique for individual cases. Methods of intra-operative fetal monitoring and fetal resuscitation will also be discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Analgesia / methods
  • Anesthesia / methods*
  • Anesthesia, Obstetrical / methods
  • Cardiovascular Abnormalities / embryology
  • Cardiovascular Abnormalities / surgery
  • Endoscopy*
  • Female
  • Fetofetal Transfusion / surgery
  • Fetus / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Hydronephrosis / embryology
  • Hydronephrosis / surgery
  • Monitoring, Intraoperative
  • Obstetric Labor, Premature / prevention & control
  • Oxygen / blood
  • Postoperative Complications / prevention & control
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / prevention & control
  • Resuscitation / methods


  • Oxygen