Background: Premature rupture of membranes (PROM) remains a significant complication of fetal surgery. Rates of 40% to 100% have been reported after both open and endoscopic fetal surgery. We describe a technique of endoscopic port insertion and removal that minimizes trauma to the membranes. Methods: Twenty-seven consecutive patients undergoing endoscopic laser ablation for twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome were reviewed. In each case, a minilaparotomy was performed, and the amniotic cavity was entered under direct vision of the uterus using a Seldinger technique. The entry site was carefully dilated to accommodate a 4.0-mm-diameter cannula. A gelatin sponge plug was placed at port removal. Postoperative management and outcome were evaluated. Results: Median gestational age at operation was 21.3 weeks. Median operating time was 60 minutes. One patient delivered intraoperatively because of fetal distress. Seventeen (65.4%) patients required postoperative tocolysis (median duration, 12 hours). Median postoperative gestation was 6.5 weeks (range, 1-20 weeks). Only 1 (4.2%) of 24 patients with successful gelatin sponge placement developed PROM. Conclusions: Meticulous technique and atraumatic insertion and removal of ports help minimize the risk of postoperative amniotic leak after endoscopic fetal surgery. Our PROM rate of 4.2% contrasts sharply with previously reported rates after similar operations.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes