PURPOSE: To develop a simplified technique for antenatal correction of a meningomyelocele -like defect in fetal sheep to allow direct skin closure. METHODS: A spinal defect was surgically created at 75 days of gestation in the fetuses of 36 pregnant sheep, 23 survived the surgery. At 102 days gestation, the defect was corrected in 14 cases (9 were left untreated). Skin surrounding the defect was dissected below the dermis to permit its edges to be approximated and sutured, without interposing any material to its edges. An interface material intended to protect the neural tissue from skin adhesion was used and the skin defect was completely closed over it. Pregnancy was allowed to continue up to 138 days gestation, the fetuses were submitted to macroscopic and microscopic analysis. RESULTS: The defect was successfully corrected in 90.9% in the experimental group, and spontaneous closure occurred in 22.3% in the control group (p < 0.05). The survival rate after the creation and correction of the defect was 63.4% and 78% respectively. CONCLUSION: This simplified technique was successful in the correction a meningomyelocele-like defect, in the fetal sheep.
Surgery; Fetal Therapies; Meningomyelocele; Spinal Dysraphism; Disease Models, Animal; Sheep