Purpose: This study aims to assess the feasibility and the effectiveness of a fetoscopic myelomeningocele (MMC) coverage using a sealed inert patch through a two-port access, in the sheep model.
Methods: Forty-four fetuses underwent surgical creation of a MMC defect at day 75 and were divided into four groups according to the MMC repair technique, performed at day 90. Group 1 remained untreated. Group 2 had an open surgery using suture of the defect. Groups 3 and 4 underwent defect coverage using a Gore®-polytetrafluoroethylene patch secured with surgical adhesive (Bioglue®), with an open approach (group 3) and a fetoscopic one (group 4). Lambs were killed at term, and histological examinations were performed.
Results: Fetoscopic patch coverage was achieved in all the lambs of group 4. All the fetuses of group 2 had a complete closure of the defect whereas only 38% in group 3 and 14% in group 4. Fetal loss rate seems to be lower in group 4 than in groups 2 and 3.
Conclusion: Fetoscopic coverage of MMC defect can be performed using a sealed patch through a two-port access, but the patch and glue correction may not be the ideal technique to repair fetal MMC.
Keywords: Fetal surgery; Fetal therapy; Fetoscopy; Open spina bifida; Sheep.