Laser Photocoagulation Risks and Result Statistics

Result Statistics

We are one of the few institutions in the United States to use laser photocoagulation treatment for TTTS. In general, this treatment has had encouraging results across the centers who use it:

  • In 80 percent of the cases, at least one twin survives
  • In 70 percent of the cases, both twins survive
  • Less than 5 percent of the surviving twins have brain damage

This compares favorably with the other treatments, where survival is lower and the brain damage rate is higher.

Risks

As with any surgery, laser photocoagulation does not come without risk. The following problems are rare, but possible. We take every precaution to ensure these risks are as low as possible.

  • Infection of the amniotic cavity may occur. Antibiotics are given in an attempt to avoid this complication.
  • Bleeding in the mother and/or the babies may occur during the procedure, which may prevent the completion of the procedure. Extremely small instruments (2.0-3.5 mm) are used to decrease the overall risk. Most bleeding is easily controlled; however if the bleeding is very heavy, an abdominal skin incision with delivery of the babies may be needed to stop it.
  • Injury to the mother or to the babies may occur from the procedure. Ultrasound is used to watch the babies throughout the procedure as a guide to help prevent injury.
  • Premature labor or leakage of amniotic fluid may happen as a result of the surgery. The very small size of the instruments helps to decrease this risk. In addition, we give medications to relax the uterus and reduce the chance of contractions.
  • Miscarriage or fetal death may occur as a result of this procedure.