Neurologic Outcome Comparison between Fetal Open-, Endoscopic- and Neonatal-Intervention Techniques in Spina Bifida Aperta

Deborah A. Sival*, Agnieszka Patuszka, Tomasz Koszutski, Axel Heep, Renate J. Verbeek

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Introduction: In spina bifida aperta (SBA), fetal closure of the myelomeningocele (MMC) can have a neuroprotective effect and improve outcomes. In Europe, surgical MMC closure is offered by fetal-open (OSBAR), fetal-endoscopic (FSBAR), and neonatal (NSBAR) surgical techniques. Pediatric neurologists facing the challenging task of counseling the parents may therefore seek objective outcome comparisons. Until now, such data are hardly available. In SBA, we aimed to compare neurologic outcomes between OSBAR, FSBAR, and NSBAR intervention techniques. Methods: We determined intervention-related complications, neuromuscular integrity, and neurologic outcome parameters after OSBAR (n = 17) and FSBAR (n = 13) interventions by age- and lesion-matched comparisons with NSBAR-controls. Neurological outcome parameters concerned: shunt dependency, segmental alterations in muscle ultrasound density (reflecting neuromuscular integrity), segmental motor-, sensory- and reflex conditions, and the likelihood of intervention-related gain in ambulation. Results: Compared with NSBAR-controls, fetal intervention is associated with improved neuromuscular tissue integrity, segmental neurological outcomes, reduced shunt dependency, and a higher chance of acquiring ambulation in ?20% of the operated children. Children with MMC-lesions with a cranial border at L3 revealed the most likely intervention-related motor function gain. The outcome comparison between OSBAR versus FSBAR interventions revealed no significant differences. Conclusion: In SBA, OSBAR- and FSBAR-techniques achieved similar neuroprotective results. A randomized controlled trial is helpful in revealing and compare ongoing effects by surgical learning curves.
Original languageEnglish
Article number251
JournalDiagnostics (Basel, Switzerland)
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2023

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