Fetal surgery can correct several life-threatening malformations before birth. Despite recent advances in fetal surgery, preterm labor remains a major problem directly related to the large uterine incision required for fetal exposure. Fetal endoscopic surgery ('Fetendo') obviates the need for a large uterine incision and may reduce the overall risks of fetal surgery by causing less uterine trauma and ultimately less preterm labor. Temporary tracheal occlusion is a promising strategy to enlarge the lungs in fetuses with congenital diaphragmatic hernia. Using the technology developed for laparoscopic surgery and for temporary tracheal occlusion, we have developed an endoscopic technique for tracheal occlusion with an endoscopic clip in a fetal sheep model. The evolution of this technique may allow temporary tracheal occlusion without incisional hysterotomy or maternal laparotomy.
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