Sophisticated Tools Lead to Breakthroughs in Prenatal Surgery

Many breakthroughs in prenatal surgery have only been possible because of ever more sophisticated instruments. Since 2011, Michael Belfort, the chief obstetrician at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, has been enhancing the tools he uses to operate on a developing fetus. His modified instruments have led to fewer preterm deliveries and C-sections for mothers, and his surgeries have helped improve survival rates for infants. He can insert optical fibers that let surgeons see inside the uterus. He can also tug delicate fetal skin and guide suture needles using a grasper. And he can work wonders that only a few decades ago would have defied belief.

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