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After a Rare Diagnosis Threatened Their Boys’ Lives, Parents Build Awareness About TTTS and Fetal Surgery Options at The SSM St. Louis Fetal Care Institute.
Date:8/31/2014

m growing at different rates. This impacts the twins’ blood flow, and can be deadly to both babies. When Theresa was 21 weeks pregnant with the twins, they rapidly developed life-threatening TTTS. “It was so severe that I needed surgery the day I was diagnosed,” Theresa says.

Using minimally invasive fetal laser surgery, doctors can stop the negative impacts of TTTS while the babies are still in the womb. The St. Louis Fetal Care Institute is one of the few fetal care centers in the United States to offer this procedure. During the surgery, a laser is used to block the shared blood vessels. The surgeon inserts a pencil-tip-sized telescope in the mother’s uterus and examines the entire placenta to find the connected blood vessels. Once these are all mapped, a tiny laser fiber is inserted and laser energy is used to stop the blood flow between the twins.

“Separating the twin blood flow could be compared to separating the placenta, allowing each twin to develop independently,” says Dr. Mike Vlastos, director of the Fetal Care Institute. Because of the high-risk nature of her pregnancy, Theresa was placed on bed rest after her surgery, and then hospitalized for nine weeks before giving birth at 37 weeks.

On Oct. 14, 2012, Theresa and her husband David welcomed two healthy boys into the world via Cesarean section at SSM St. Mary’s Health Center. “The boys are a glowing example of the importance of consistent monitoring and prenatal care, especially in the case of twins,” says Vlastos. “Without this, and the immediate access to fetal surgery they may not be here today.”

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About The St. Louis Fetal Care Institute
The St. Louis Fetal Care Institute is a partnership between SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center, SSM St. Mary’s Health Center and Saint Louis University School of Medicine. Bringing together renowned maternal-fetal medicine (MFM) specialists, pediatric and fetal surgeons, specialized nurses, cutting-edg
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