Fetoscopy - To Check For Abnormalities In Fetal Tissue

Submitted on March 27, 2012

What is Fetoscopy?

A fetoscopy is a procedure that is conducted on pregnant women with a high possibility of giving birth to a baby with birth defects. A fetoscopy by definition indicates a probe of the fetus and this is done in a procedure that is very similar to an amniocentesis. An amniocentesis is a procedure that is performed to check the amniotic fluid for the presence of neural tube defects and to also sample for Alphafetoprotein levels – a fetal equivalent of serum albumin.

Reason Why It is Conducted

A fetoscopic procedure is performed in the 18th week of pregnancy, after the placental and fetal structures are more prominent to view. This helps to check for any kind of abnormalities in placental or fetal tissue. The test is used to check for the presence of spina bifida, a kind of neural tube defect. There is a difference between a fetoscope and a Leff fetoscope: the latter being a kind of fetal stethoscope that is used during the delivery of a child. The other reason for a fetoscopy being done is for allowing a fetoscopic laser surgery to be performed on the fetus. Again, this is a procedure that is done for spina bifida to correct the abnormally growing fetus.


You need to understand the procedure itself and the fact that the procedure carries with it a 12% chance of resulting in miscarriage. Any kind of procedure that is invasive to the amniotic sac is extremely dangerous. The other preparations include the standard ones to prepare for surgery including not eating anything eight hours before the surgery.


You will be sedated and before that you will be given a dose of meperidine to ensure that the fetus is completely still during the procedure. Being sedated will also ensure minimal movement during the procedure. The doctor will then sterilize the area of invasion. An ultrasound will aid the doctor in performing the test. The doctor will then insert a tube into the abdomen and push further inside until the doctor reaches the uterus and the amniotic sac. From here, the required procedures will be performed on the fetus and the placenta. In some cases, the blood and tissue from the fetus will have to be extracted. If the procedure is not done properly, the amniotic fluid could suddenly drain right out and infections are also a major possibility.