Category: Fetal Therapy

A testament to resilience: The Fetal Institute celebrates its third annual Fetal Reunion

Attendees to The Fetal Reunion 2024

On March 9, 2024, The Fetal Institute proudly held its annual Fetal Reunion 2024. This heartwarming event brought together former patients and their families along with Dr. Ruben Quintero and Dr. Eftichia Kontopoulos, founders of The Fetal Institute.

This year marked the third successful collaboration with the Brianna Marie Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides resources, assistance, and advocacy for families navigating the complexities of adverse fetal diagnoses.

“It’s a moment of profound gratitude for the care we provided and the incredible trust our patients and their families placed on us to help them with their complicated pregnancy,” said Dr. Kontopoulos about the significance of the event. “Every miracle baby we see is proof of the collaborative effort between our team and the unwavering determination of these families.”

“The Fetal Institute Reunion is a celebration of life, love, and the extraordinary achievements made possible through advanced fetal medicine, collective care and support.”

“This is our opportunity to meet our patients and their families again, after the pregnancy that brought them to us, and to get to know their babies whom we only knew once as fetuses. It is also a time to reflect upon our limitations and remember those
babies whom we couldn’t help,” added Dr. Quintero. “It is a mighty stimulus for us to
continue to develop new and better ways to help babies before birth.”

On behalf of The Fetal Institute, we extend our sincere appreciation to the Brianna Marie Foundation and all supporters for their invaluable contributions to the success of The Fetal Institute Reunion 2024. With your help, we continue to bring awareness about fetal conditions and fetal therapy.

Check out all the photos from this year’s reunion:

The Fetal Institute featured in new book authored by a patient

Parents Britney and Dakota Paxson with their baby Lily

Treatment of fetal conditions can help provide a second opportunity to a new life. Because of their role in a successful case to reverse Fetal Hydrops, the work of doctors at The Fetal Institute in Miami was featured in the new book, A Mustard Seed of Faith: How hope conquered all odds, authored by former patient Brittney Paxson.

Paxson’s heartwarming tale captures the remarkable journey of bringing the miracle of life into their family after receiving the devastating news of their daughter’s diagnosis of fetal hydrops — a rare and fatal illness with slim chances of survival. Through their unconditional love and faith, Brittney and Dakota Paxson found the strength to do all they could to find care for their little girl.

Screenshot 2023-07-03 at 11.12.28 AM

 "After initial shock and devastation lifted, they knew it was time to start fighting for their baby and doing all they could to bring her home. This true story takes you through a journey of two new parents and the fight for their child."

From a fateful diagnosis, to triumph over adversity

Non-immune fetal hydrops (NIHF) is an abnormal accumulation of fluid within two or more compartments of a fetus’s chest. It can have various causes including infections, genetics, chromosomal abnormalities, and more.

A prolonged accumulation of fluid during the pregnancy can compress the lungs and prevent them from developing normally (pulmonary hypoplasia). If the baby cannot be oxygenated, it can result in death.

For Brittney and Dakota Paxson, receiving the diagnosis at 18.5 weeks of gestation was crushing.

“When a condition like NIHF becomes very significant, the chances of survival decrease and an early intervention can save a baby’s life,” says Dr. Ruben Quintero, fetal medicine specialist at The Fetal Institute. “We are immensely grateful for the opportunity we get through our work to be a part of successful stories like Brittney and Dakota’s, and we are glad that they are able to enjoy life with a healthy daughter as a result.”

Learn more about fetal hydrops and other pleural and pericardial effusions.

For the Paxson family, A Mustard Seed of Faith stands as a celebration of life and a testament to the resilience that comes from love and faith in the darkest of times. For the Fetal Institute, it is a reminder of the profound impact that compassionate and innovative fetal medicine can have on the lives of patients.

“Dealing with unexpected and potentially life-threatening conditions during a pregnancy truly requires strength and hope,” says Dr. Eftichia Kontopoulos, fetal medicine specialist at The Fetal Institute. “We are proud of Brittney and her family for their resilience to navigate these challenges, and for sharing a journey that will inspire many other families globally.”

Podcast: What is fetal therapy?

What are Fetal Therapies?
0:00 / 0:00
What is fetal therapy?
Dr. Eftichia Kontopoulos, Founder and Fetal Medicine Specialist at The Fetal Institute in Coral Gables, FL
A podcast episode with fetal medicine specialist Dr. Eftichia Kontopoulos

Did you know that babies can have surgery while they are still in utero? The field of fetal medicine and fetal therapy is a fast-growing one, with more options for mothers facing grim fetal diagnosis during their pregnancies.

Dr. Eftichia Kontopoulos of The Fetal Institute in Miami is a pioneer in fetal medicine and on this podcast episode, Dr. Kontopoulos answers the questions:

  • What are fetal therapies?
  • Can babies have surgery before they are born?
  • What fetal conditions can be treated with fetal surgery?
  • Is fetal surgery non-invasive?
  • What can I expect during the fetal surgery process?
  • What should families know if they receive a grim fetal diagnosis?

Tune in to the podcast and reach out to The Fetal Institute via our contact form or call us at (786) 971-2303 to learn more.

Advances in Fetal Therapy

Advances in Fetal Therapy

Fetal surgery draws principally from the fields of surgery, obstetrics and gynecology, and pediatrics– especially the subspecialties of neonatology (care of newborns, especially high-risk ones), maternal-fetal medicine (care of high-risk pregnancies), and pediatric surgery.

It often involves training in obstetrics, pediatrics, and mastery of both invasive and non-invasive surgery, meaning it takes several years of residency, and at least one fellowship (usually more than one year), to be able to become proficient. It is possible in the U.S. to become trained in this approach whether one started in obstetrics, pediatrics, or surgery.

Because of the very high risk and high complexity of these cases, they are usually performed at Level I trauma centers in large cities at academic medical centers,- offering the full spectrum of maternal and newborn care, including a high level neonatal intensive care unit (level IV is the highest) and suitable operating theaters and equipment, and a high number of surgeons and physicians, nurse specialists, therapists, and a social work and counseling team. The cases can be referred from multiple levels of hospitals from many miles, sometimes across state and provincial lines. In continents other than North America and Europe, these centers are not as numerous, though the techniques are spreading.

Most problems do not require or are not treatable through fetal intervention. The exceptions are anatomical problems for which correction in utero is feasible and may be of significant benefit in the future development and survival of the fetus. Early correction (prior to birth) of these problems will likely increase the odds of a healthy and relatively normal baby.

Welcome to the Fetal Therapy Institute Miami

Welcome to the Fetal Therapy Institute Miami

The Fetal Institute provides patients with the latest and most advanced resources in the field of Maternal-Fetal Medicine and Fetal Therapy. This includes high-resolution ultrasound imaging, non-invasive serum screening and prenatal testing (NIPT), as well as comprehensive invasive prenatal diagnostic and therapeutic techniques. Fundamental to the philosophy of the Institute, all diagnostic and therapeutic options are performed using either a non-invasive or a minimally invasive approach, which results in better pregnancy outcomes.

Founded by Dr. Ruben Quintero and Dr. Eftichia Kontopoulos. The Fetal Institute serves as a resource to all Obstetricians and Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialists.

The Fetal Institute is a national and international referral center for the assessment and management of complicated pregnancies.