Under the direction of Dr. Michael Harrison, the Fetal Treatment Center was the first institution to develop fetal surgery techniques. The first open fetal surgery in the world was performed at UCSF since the early 1980's. We presently have more experience with fetal surgery and endoscopic fetal intervention (FETENDO fetal surgery) than any other institution in the world. Our dedication to research, innovation, and clinical application has included the training of many dedicated physicians.
The Fetal Treatment Center combines the talents of specialists in pediatric surgery, genetics, obstetrics/perinatology, radiology, nursing, and neonatal medicine. Our team of doctors, nurses, and social workers work together to coordinate all aspects of care from diagnosis to postoperative recovery and long-term follow-up.
Our Multidisciplinary Approach
All the members of our multidisciplinary Fetal Treatment Center (FTC) team play an integral role in your care. The team includes clinicians involved in the direct care of patients as well as research fellows who are developing novel and safer methods of fetal surgery. Our team meets weekly to discuss your care, patient outcomes, birth results, and -- equally important -- to share recent research which ultimately may result in even more effective fetal interventions.
The multidisciplinary approach we use combines the expertise of our Pediatric Surgery Division with the expertise of leaders from established programs in perinatal genetics, radiology, maternal-fetal medicine, nursing, anesthesia, and neonatal medicine. You can expect to interact with a variety of health care specialists including: perinatologists, pediatric surgeons, anesthesiologists, neonatologists, geneticists, nurses, and radiologists (i.e., sonologists and MRI specialists), all of whom will be directly involved in your care.
These physicians will speak with you at length about the fetal condition, possible treatments, the risks, the possible benefits, as well as the possible complications. The perinatologist manages your obstetric care together with members of the fetal therapy team. If necessary, the pediatric surgeons actually perform the surgery on you and your unborn baby.
Fetal Treatment Coordinator
The fetal treatment coordinator is a nurse who coordinates your care throughout your experience at UCSF. She will facilitate communication between you and your doctors about what will happen while at UCSF. She will coordinate you various appointments: sonography, echocardiology, laboratory testing and appointments with the medical team members. She can also help make lodging arrangements. You should feel free to contact the coordinator any time before or after your visit to UCSF.
A neonatologist is a doctor whose specialty is caring for very sick newborns. They work in the Intensive Care Nursery. The neonatologist will be able to answer your questions about the diagnosis of your fetus, what the treatment would be, and possible outcomes.
A perinatal social worker will meet you and your support person to help identify ways you can best cope with the stress of this situation. She will help you think about your treatment options. She can tour you around the Intensive Care Nursery (ICN) and help prepare you for what to expect after your baby is born. If you should deliver at UCSF, she is available throughout you and your baby's stay.
A specialist in obstetrical sonography will review the sonograms of your pregnancy to assist the Fetal Treatment Center team in diagnosing your unborn baby's problem.
If you are to undergo a fetal surgery procedure you will meet with an anesthesiologist. This physician administers anesthesia and monitors you and your baby during surgery. He will meet with you prior to surgery to discuss your medical history and previous anesthetic history. After the operation, pain management is the responsibility of the anesthesiologist.
Clinical Nurse Specialist/Obstetric Nurses
If you are to undergo a fetal surgery procedure you will meet with a nurse from the obstetric unit. The clinical nurse specialist will discuss the hospitalization experience and home care with you prior to your admission. The medical, social, emotional, and financial considerations facing the family will be addressed. She will develop a postoperative plan of care for you and oversee the implementation of this care by the staff. Throughout your hospital stay, the obstetric nurse will provide you with expert care. They will assist you in recovering from surgery, obtaining pain relief, preventing premature labor, and overseeing the fetus’s well being.