Fetal surgery, or surgery on a baby before it is born, is an emerging medical field. This highly specialized area can give babies who may not survive a chance at life. Currently, there are limited fetal surgery options in the Chicago area. Doctors from the St. Louis Fetal Care Institute, in St. Louis are hoping to change this.
“Chicago has a strong market of talented, experienced maternal-fetal medicine specialists and ob/gyns. These are physicians who know how to care for these delicate babies after their arrival,” says Dr. Mike Vlastos, director of the Institute. “Our goal is to work with them and their patients by providing fetal surgery at our Fetal Care Institute in St. Louis, and then giving these mothers the opportunity to deliver with their home doctor in Chicago.”
Dr. Vlastos, MFM, FACOG, Dr. Samer Elbabaa, MD, FAANS, FACS, the director of the Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery at SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center and Saint Louis University assistant professor of Neurological Surgery, and Fetal Care Nurse Coordinator Katie Francis will be in Chicago on April 11 and 12. While in the area, the team will meet with teams of doctors from around the area.
On April 11 they will present “Breakthroughs In Fetal Surgery,” to local physicians, nurses and genetic counselors. The presentation will cover the details about advanced treatments for myelomeningocele (the most severe form of spina bifida), bronchopulmonary sequestration (rare fetal lung masses), and twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome. The presentation will be at 6:30 p.m. at Mastro’s Steakhouse, 520 N. Dearborne Dr. Chicago, IL 60654. The team will be available for media interviews while in the area on April 11 and 12.
The St. Louis Fetal Care Institute offers a myriad of open and minimally invasive fetal surgeries. It is the fastest-growing center in the country providing fetal myelomeningocele (the most severe form of spina bifida) repair surgery, and the only one in the country to offer laser ablation treatment for rare fetal lung masses. “This laser treatment cuts off blood supply to a rapidly growing lung mass, essentially destroying it and giving the baby’s lungs and heart the opportunity to develop. The babies who have received this treatment are now healthy, thriving little ones. Without the procedure, chances at life were slim,” says Vlastos. “Our hope is to help as many babies and families as possible.
By working with doctors from the Chicago area we think we can continue to give more and more babies a chance at life,” says Vlastos.
About The St. Louis Fetal Care Institute
The St. Louis Fetal Care Institute is a partnership between SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center, SSM St. Mary’s Health Center, and Saint Louis University School of Medicine. Bringing together renowned maternal fetal medicine (MFM) specialists, pediatric and fetal surgeons, specialized nurses, cutting-edge technology, and a family-oriented approach, The Institute offers state-of-the-art diagnostic methods and treatment options for families whose unborn babies are facing medical challenges. It is the leading comprehensive fetal care program in Middle America offering a variety of fetal interventions and treatments, including open and minimally invasive fetal surgery for babies in the womb.