The mother’s abdomen and uterus are opened. The fetus’ head is then delivered, and steps are taken to stabilize the baby prior to delivery. We recommend this procedure for fetuses with rare conditions in which we can predict there will be immediate problems with the ability of the fetus to breathe or to have adequate function of the heart or lungs.
The EXIT Procedure is performed as close to the usual time of birth (term) as possible. The procedure is performed similar to other fetal surgery operations. Under general anesthesia, the mother’s abdomen and uterus will be opened in a specialized manner. The baby’s head and part of the upper body will be delivered, but the baby will stay attached to the umbilical cord and placenta in order to continue receiving life-sustaining oxygen. Steps will then be taken to stabilize the fetus in order to smooth the transition from fetal to postnatal life. The EXIT procedure may be recommended for fetuses with giant neck masses who have evidence of airway blockage. Additionally, this procedure may be offered in rare situations where fetuses have large lung masses, diaphragmatic hernia, heart problems or other conditions that might cause impairments in fetal heart and lung function.
The EXIT procedure has higher risk than a standard C-section delivery. These risks need to be carefully balanced with the potential benefits of the procedure for each case. During your evaluation, your doctors at the Apollo Centre for Fetal Medicine will provide a detailed review of your baby’s condition and treatment options in order to help you and your family decide what the best delivery plan may be.