Radiofrequency ablation of human fetal sacrococcygeal teratoma

Bettina W. Paek, Russell W. Jennings, Michael R. Harrison, Roy A. Filly, Theresa A. Tacy, Diana L Farmer, Craig T. Albanese

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

116 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: Fetuses with solid, highly vascularized sacrococcygeal teratomas can die as a result of the vascular steal syndrome. This is the first report in which a percutaneous technique, radiofrequency ablation, was used to interrupt blood flow to a sacrococcygeal teratoma in 4 human fetuses. STUDY DESIGN: A radiofrequency ablation probe was percutaneously inserted into the fetal tumor under ultrasonographic guidance. In 2 fetuses a significant portion of the tumor mass was ablated, whereas in the other 2 fetuses only the major feeding vessels were targeted. RESULTS: Two infants were delivered at 28 and 31 weeks' gestation, respectively, and are doing well. In 2 other cases hemorrhage into the tumor led to an unfavorable fetal outcome. CONCLUSION: Ablation of a majority of the tumor tissue in sacrococcygeal teratoma is not necessary and proved fatal in two instances. Targeted ablation of the feeding tumor vessels diminishes blood flow sufficiently to reverse high-output fetal heart failure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)503-507
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2001


  • Fetus
  • Hydrops
  • Radiofrequency ablation
  • Sacrococcygeal teratoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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