WAUWATOSA -- Children's Hospital of Wisconsin announced Monday that it's expanding the state's only fetal center.
A new, 7,337-square foot space housing the Fetal Concerns Center will open to patients in May.
The current space at Froedtert Hospital is about 2,000-square feet, said Kristi Rapp, Director of the Fetal Concerns Center. She said the new space at Children's will better accommodate innovation and growth.
The center has seen a 45 percent increase in patients over the last four years.
"This year, we saw about 800 patients, which was a 15% increase from the previous year," Rapp said.
The Fetal Concerns Center, founded in 2000, specializes in the diagnosis, treatment and comprehensive care coordination for women with high-risk pregnancies. Surgeons at the center have performed more than 100 surgeries on babies in utero since the space began housing surgeries in 2011.
The program made headlines in 2014, when doctors performed the first prenatal spina bifida surgery in Wisconsin. Since then, nine more spina bifida surgeries have taken place there. In addition to spina bifida, the Fetal Concerns Center treats and coordinates care for all types of fetal conditions, including twin-twin transfusion syndrome and congenital heart disease.
The Fetal Concerns Center's new location will provide a designated space for patients to receive collaborative care from Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and Medical College of Wisconsin specialists. It'll also be near the NICU, and the labor and delivery areas at Children's.
"All of a Mom's care can be right here, and there's no worry about a baby being moved to the NICU while Mom is moved to a different hospital," Rapp said. "That is huge."
The new center space will include five consultation rooms and six exam rooms, where ultrasounds and echocardiograms will be performed.
Construction on the existing space began in December 2017. The new center’s opening will require the hiring of several new employees beginning with a medical assistant and OB-GYN nurse.