Trocar-assisted selective laser photocoagulation of communicating vessels: a technique for the laser treatment of patients with twin-twin transfusion syndrome with inaccessible anterior placentas

J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. 2010 Apr;23(4):330-4. doi: 10.3109/14767050903177177.


Objective: To describe a new technique, trocar-assisted selective laser photocoagulation of communicating vessels (TA-SLPCV), for patients with twin-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS) with inaccessible anterior placentas.

Materials and methods: TA-SLPCV was performed through a single port in TTTS patients with an anterior placenta in whom the anastomoses were inaccessible with a standard technique (inaccessible anterior placentas). The anastomoses were first identified using a 25 or 70-degree rigid diagnostic endoscope. The anastomoses were then targeted with a zero-degree operating rigid endoscope by withdrawing it within the sheath a short distance and using the sheath to gently indent the placenta (trocar assistance). The technique was compared with patients with a posterior placenta treated with a standard technique. Surgeries were approved by the Institutional Review Boards and all patients signed informed consent.

Results: Of 267 patients who met the criteria for the study, 143 (53.6%) had an anterior placenta and 124 (46.4%) had a posterior placenta. Perinatal survival (88.1% vs. 91.9%, p = 0.3), residual patent anastomoses (4.3% vs. 2.7%, p = 0.6), or premature rupture of membranes within 3 weeks of the procedure (7.7% vs. 4%, p = 0.2), was no different relative to placental location (anterior vs. posterior, respectively). Operating time was significantly different between the groups (median 46 min vs. 36 min, p < 0.05).

Conclusion: Trocar assistance allows treatment of TTTS patients with inaccessible anterior placentas using a single port and a rigid endoscope with similar results as patients with a posterior placenta and a standard technique.

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Fetal Diseases / surgery*
  • Fetofetal Transfusion / pathology
  • Fetofetal Transfusion / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Laparoscopy / methods
  • Laser Coagulation / instrumentation
  • Laser Coagulation / methods*
  • Placenta / blood supply
  • Placenta / pathology
  • Pregnancy
  • Surgical Instruments*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal