Fetal Surgery for Neck Masses Periprocedural Care
- Author: S Christopher Derderian, MD; Chief Editor: Hanmin Lee, MD more...
Patient Education & Consent
As the progression of cervical masses varies, counseling parents is challenging. Masses identified early in gestation associated with hydrops carry a high risk of fetal demise, and patient counseling is of paramount importance. Patients with masses that progress rapidly, constricting the trachea and esophagus, and survive to a viable gestation should be offered an EXIT-to-delivery procedure. Counseling should also include discussing fetal risk associated with EXIT-to-delivery, which may include asphyxia and prematurity.
From a maternal standpoint, based on placental location, a classic hysterotomy may be required, prohibiting the possibilities of future vaginal deliveries. Additionally, the risk of uterine dehiscence and rupture in subsequent pregnancies is not trivial and has been reported to occur following 14% of EXIT procedures. Therefore, all mothers should be counseled on associated risks.
Elements of Informed Consent
Pre-Procedure Planning The EXIT procedure requires careful planning with a multidisciplinary team, typically including two pediatric/fetal surgeons, one obstetrician, one neonatologist, one ultrasonographer, one otolaryngologist, and one nurse scrub.
A direct laryngoscope, a rigid and flexible bronchoscope, and a tracheostomy kit should be immediately available.
A uterine stapler with absorbable staples (US Surgical Corporation, Norwalk, CT) is used to minimize blood loss during the hysterotomy.
Inhaled anesthetics, particularly isoflurane,[11, 12] are necessary for uterine relaxation and uteroplacental gas exchange, which have been demonstrated to be normal up to 54 minutes on uteroplacental support during EXIT delivery.
Alpha-adrenergic agonists are frequently required to maintain maternal blood pressure, as high levels of isoflurane, which are needed for uterine relaxation, often result in hypotension.
In addition, nitroglycerin can assist with uterine relaxation, as the activation of guanylyl cyclase leads to increased levels of cGMP and decreased levels of intracellular calcium, resulting in uterine relaxation. Typically, a fetal cocktail consisting of a paralytic and narcotic is injected into the fetus intramuscularly.
The patient is typically placed in the supine position on the operating room table. Occasionally, the patient may be placed in lithotomy position to increase available space for operating room staff.
Monitoring & Follow-up
After birth, a follow-up CT scan or MRI should be obtained to confirm the diagnosis. Surgical management can be elective once an airway is established.
Postnatal management depends on the type, size, and location of the lesion. Cervical teratomas are frequently resected in the neonatal period to minimize risk of malignant transformation. They may involve the thyroid gland, so care should be taken during the dissection, and consultation with an endocrinologist for hypothyroidism may be required postoperatively. Vascular malformations are frequently managed medically, while lymphatic malformations benefit from sclerotherapy, surgical resection, or both.
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