Fetal surgery is not associated with increased inflammatory placental pathology

Maria C. Cardenas, E. Heidi Cheek-Norgan, Megan E. Branda, Andrew P. Norgan, Mauro H. Schenone, Maureen A. Lemens, Rana Chakraborty, Rodrigo Ruano, Elizabeth Ann L. Enninga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Fetal surgery has improved neonatal outcomes; however, it is unknown if the intervention contributes to the developmental of inflammatory pathologies in the placenta. Here, an association between fetal surgery and placental pathology was examined. Method: This case-control study compared pregnancies with fetal surgery (n = 22), pregnancies with an indication for fetal surgery but without an intervention being done (n = 13), and gestational-age and fetus-number matched controls (n = 36). Data on maternal, infant, and placental outcomes were abstracted. Additionally, immunohistochemistry identified expression of lymphoid and myeloid cells in the placenta on a subset of cases. Comparisons were performed using Kruskal-Wallis or Pearson's chi-squared tests. Results: Maternal characteristics were comparable between groups. Most fetal interventions were for diaphragmatic hernia, spina bifida, or twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome. Fetuses who were operated on before birth were more likely to be born preterm (p = 0.02). There was no increase in the rate of observed placental pathologies or immune cell infiltration in fetal surgery cases compared to controls. Conclusion: The data suggest that fetal surgery is not associated with increased inflammatory or morphologic pathology in the placenta. This observation supports the growing field of fetal surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)382-392
Number of pages11
JournalPrenatal Diagnosis
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Genetics(clinical)


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