From Tampa to Moscow: Fetal surgery expertise showcased through telemedicine

Watch a clip of the fetal surgery telecast to Russia

Dr Rubén Quintero and his team perform fetal therapy surgery to correct Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome.

The Division of Maternal and Fetal Medicine, directed by USF Health fetal surgeon Rubén Quintero, MD, broadcast its inaugural in-utero fetal surgery earlier this summer from Tampa General Hospital to Russia. The live telecast of the surgery to treat Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS) was beamed from the state-of-the-art operating room suite at Tampa General to more than 600 OB/GYNs attending the 20th Jubilee International Congress “Advanced Technologies for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Gynecologic Diseases” in Moscow.

TTTS is a condition resulting in abnormal blood exchange between identical twins through a common placenta. The endoscopic procedure developed by Dr. Quintero, which pinpoints the placental blood vessels through which the twins are sharing blood unequally and seals them off with a laser, has significantly improved the odds of survival in twins affected by TTTS.

The live surgery was telecast from Tampa General Hospital to more than 600 OB/GYNs in Moscow.

The surgery was performed on June 5th by Dr. Quintero, a pioneer in minimally-invasive fetal surgery, and Eftichia Kontopoulos, MD, assistant professor in the Division. The physicians in Moscow watched the procedure as Dr. Quintero described what they were seeing and answered audience members’ questions in real time.

Dr. Quintero was invited to present the surgical demonstration by colleague Dr. Leila Adamyan, professor of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences and Chair of the Department of Reproductive Medicine and Surgery of Moscow. Dr. Adamyan translated for the audience.

Dr. Leila Adamyan, professor of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, translated for the Russian audience.

USF Health and Tampa General plan to conduct more fetal therapy education through a structured on-line telemedicine program currently being developed. This will allow the training of other fetal surgeons throughout the world by Dr. Quintero and his team.

The USF Fetal Therapy Center provides patients and physicians with the latest and most advanced resources in the field of prenatal diagnosis and therapy.

— Story by Anne DeLotto Baier