If there is a way to help a developing baby facing a medical challenge, the team at the St. Louis Fetal Care Institute will find it. It all started in 2009 with Charlie. Without fetal surgery he would have lost his leg before he was even born because amniotic band syndrome was restricting blood flow. The team at the St. Louis Fetal Care Institute performed a minimally invasive fetal laser surgery that saved his leg, and gave him the chance to walk, run and jump on his own.
“Since that day, we have had the privilege of caring for nearly 1,000 families and their developing babies,” says Mike Vlastos, MD, the director of the St. Louis Fetal Care Institute. “We see some of the most challenging situations, many of our families have lost hope, being told there are no options for their babies. Oftentimes, we can change that,” says Vlastos.
“We have access to the most advanced diagnostic tools, experienced specialists and state of the art technology that can give families options for the future of their babies.” The team, which includes specialists from maternal-fetal medicine, pediatric surgery, neonatology, pediatric cardiology, anesthesiology, nephrology, neurology, urology, orthopedics, social work, and genetics, has performed more than 300 life-changing fetal interventions since 2009.
“All of us working together is what helps create more positive outcomes for these moms and babies,” says Vlastos. “Beyond offering fetal intervention, it is our goal to provide a compassionate support system for all of our families, to coordinate care, and be here whenever they may need us to answer questions, find out more information, or to simply serve as a listening ear,” says Katie Francis, CPNP, the program coordinator for the St. Louis Fetal Care Institute.
There are less than twenty centers in the United States that offer programs that are as experienced and comprehensive as that of the St. Louis Fetal Care Institute. The St. Louis Fetal Care Institute is now one of the most experienced fetal spina bifida repair centers in the country, the only place in the country to perform life-saving minimally invasive laser surgery on bronchopulmonary sequestration (fetal lung
masses) and a renowned provider of fetal heart care. They were also among the first in the region to perform EXIT (Ex Utero Intrapartum Treatment Procedure) deliveries, and laser surgery for twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS).
The team at the St. Louis Fetal Care Institute performs minimally invasive and open fetal surgeries, and vaginal and cesarean deliveries at SSM St. Mary’s Health Center. When necessary, EXIT procedures and cesarean section deliveries are performed at SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center. The clinic is housed at Cardinal Glennon. The program is a collaborative effort of Cardinal Glennon, St. Mary’s Health Center and Saint Louis University School of Medicine.
Click on the images below to learn more about some of the families that have joined us on the journey to our five year anniversary: