ACOG Committee opinion no. 550: maternal-fetal surgery for myelomeningocele

Obstet Gynecol. 2013 Jan;121(1):218-9. doi: 10.1097/01.aog.0000425666.02754.46.


Myelomeningocele, the most severe form of spina bifida, occurs in approximately 1 in 1,500 births in the United States. Fetuses in whom myelomeningocele is diagnosed typically are delivered at term and are treated in the early neonatal period. A recent randomized controlled trial found that fetal surgery for myelomeningocele improved a number of important outcomes, but also was associated with maternal and fetal risks. Maternal-fetal surgery is a major procedure for the woman and her fetus, and it has significant implications and complications that occur acutely, postoperatively, for the duration of the pregnancy, and in subsequent pregnancies. Therefore, it should only be offered at facilities with the expertise, multidisciplinary teams, services, and facilities to provide the intensive care required for these patients.

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Fetus / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Meningomyelocele / surgery*
  • Obstetric Surgical Procedures / methods*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Risk
  • Treatment Outcome