Early outcomes of a myofascial repair technique for fetal myelomeningocele

Alyssa E. Vaughn, Amanda E. Louiselle, Suhong Tong, Stephen M. Niemiec, Saliha Ahmad, Michael Zaretsky, Henry L. Galan, Nicholas Behrendt, C. Corbett Wilkinson, Brent O'Neill, Michael Handler, S. Christopher Derderian, David M. Mirsky, Kenneth W. Liechty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Fetal repair of myelomeningocele (MMC) and myeloschisis leads to improved neurologic outcomes compared to postnatal repair, but the effects of modifications in closure techniques have not been extensively studied. Previous work has suggested that a watertight repair is requisite for improvement in hindbrain herniation (HBH) and to decrease postnatal hydrocephalus (HCP). Our institution adopted the myofascial closure technique for open fetal MMC repair in July 2019, which we hypothesized would result in decreased need for patch closure, improved HBH, and decreased rate of surgically-treated HCP. Methods: A single-center retrospective study of patients who underwent fetal MMC or myeloschisis repair between March 2013 and February 2022 was performed. Outcomes were evaluated (n = 70 prior to July 2019, n = 34 after July 2019). Statistical significance was determined by Fisher's exact and Chi square tests (p < 0.05 significant). Results: Patients who underwent myofascial closure were less likely to require a patch for skin closure (14.7% vs 58.6%, p < 0.0001). Myofascial closure was also associated with an increased rate of HBH improvement on two-week postoperative fetal MRI (93.9% vs 65.7%, p = 0.002). Surgically-treated HCP at one year was lower in the myofascial closure group (n = 21), however this did not reach statistical significance (23.8% vs 41.9%, p = 0.19). Conclusions: We conclude that the myofascial closure technique for repair of fetal MMC and myeloschisis is associated with significantly decreased need for patch closure and improvement in hindbrain herniation compared to our previous skin closure technique. These results support a surgical approach that employs a multilayer watertight closure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)20-26
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of pediatric surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

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