Fetal Neurosurgery Spotlighted at “Fetology Chicago: Practice and Discovery” - A National Conference Organized by The Chicago Institute for Fetal Health

January 10, 2020

Dr. Robin Bowman, Lurie Children's pediatric neurosurgeon, Director of the multidisciplinary Spina Bifida Center at Lurie Children’s and Co-Director of Fetal Neurosurgery at The Chicago Institute for Fetal Health at Lurie Children’s, and along with Lurie Children's pediatric neurosurgeon and Chief Informatics Officer Dr. Tord Alden led the four-part “Fetal Neurosurgery” section at the first national conference sponsored by The Chicago Institute for Fetal Health. The conference, “Fetology Chicago: Practice and Discovery,” held in late September at The Omni Chicago Hotel, drew attendees from 11 states and included physicians, surgeons, fellows, residents, advanced practice providers, nurses, sonographers, genetic counselors, researchers, and other clinical staff.

Speakers and Topics

At the event, Dr. Bowman discussed the role of in utero surgery for spina bifida patients and the results she has seen at The Chicago Institute from the babies treated in utero. “The thing that has stood out to me the most about my children who I have closed in utero is that they have very impressive function and movement in their lower extremities and feet,” said Dr. Bowman, “much more so than I would have expected for their level of lesion.” 

Dr. Alden looked at neurosurgical disorders, ventriculomegaly and treatment of fetal ventriculomegaly, as well as what the future might look like as imaging, molecular techniques, shunt technology, fetal neuro-protection and fetal surgery techniques all continue to improve.

Other presenters included guest speaker Dr. William Whitehead who took an in depth look at the history and current state of fetoscopic myelomeningocele surgery and what is needed to continue to have that evolve; and Dr. Elizabeth Yerkes, a pediatric urologist, Director of Neuro-urology and Co-Director of Reconstructive Pediatric Urology at Lurie Children’s, who discussed how spina bifida affects the urinary tract and how early diagnoses and continual follow-up can impact long-term outcomes.

The 2020 Conference

Join us for the 2020 Fetology Chicago Conference, which will be held September 10 and 11, at The Omni Chicago. The Neurosurgery session is scheduled for Friday, September 11. Check for updates this spring for detailed information about the upcoming conference here.