Medical City Opens Fetal Care Center, Will Perform Closed And Open Fetal Surgeries

Medical City Children’s Hospital recently opened its new Fetal Care Center, which offers a range of fetal services—some of which were previously limited or nonexistent in North Texas.

“Quite frankly, it really has been overdue considering our population size,” says Laura Swaney, Medical City’s VP of Women’s and Children’s Services.

The center will be one of the only hospitals in Dallas-Fort Worth offering closed fetal surgery, which is conducted while the baby is still in the womb. And, it will be the first hospital in North Texas—Swaney says—to offer open fetal surgery.

With Dr. Timothy Crombleholme serving as director, Medical City’s team can handle a wide spectrum of fetal surgery procedures—including those guided by ultrasound, fetoscopic surgeries, and open fetal surgeries—and address complex birth defects, like twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome and the most severe form of spina bifida.

Medical City says about 120,000 U.S. babies a year have complex birth defects that can warrant fetal intervention or fetal surgery. That amounts to about three percent of the total babies born.

“The opening of the Fetal Care Center at Medical City Children’s Hospital brings a groundbreaking healthcare service to moms and babies in North Texas,” Bill Lee, CEO of Medical City Children’s Hospital, says in a statement. “Dr. Crombleholme’s ability to perform these intricate surgeries now brings vital fetal surgery capabilities to North Texas families.”

Swaney says it’s a step that’s been long overdue, and adds that other health systems have also evaluated upping their fetal surgery capabilities, based on the demand.

“What you will find is that in this area, there are maternal fetal medicine physicians doing some of the interventional closed fetal surgery, but there were no programs to date that had open fetal surgery capabilities,” she says. “What we have at the Fetal Care Center is literally the whole gamut of fetal surgery offerings.”

Medical City says only a handful of hospitals in the world cover the gamut in the comprehensive way that Medical City Children’s now does.

The Fetal Care Center opened in conjunction with Medical City Dallas’ $125 million Women’s Hospital, which opened in April. The Women’s Hospital provides a wide variety of women’s healthcare needs, from cancer care to gynecology.

“Under one roof, we have the women’s hospital in addition to a comprehensive children’s health center,” Swaney says.