Cleveland Clinic has appointed Darrell Cass, M.D., as director of fetal surgery. In this role, Dr. Cass will lead a multidisciplinary team specialized in treating highly complex cases of birth defects, such as spina bifida, congenital diaphragmatic hernia, congenital cystic adenomatoid malformation (CCAM), sacrococcygeal teratoma, and other treatable fetal conditions.
“Fetal surgery is highly complex and life-changing. In some instances, it is needed to save the life of an unborn fetus. In other cases, it is directed at early correction of a problem that can dramatically improve the outcome of a child,” said Dr. Cass. “Presently, there are not many centers in the world that offer the full spectrum of fetal care – from diagnosis, to counseling and treatment. Successful outcomes for the patient are based on good judgment, technical capabilities, and the clinical excellence of the entire health care team.”
Dr. Cass will work within the Cleveland Clinic’s Fetal Care Center, including specialists from the Digestive Disease & Surgery Institute, the Women’s Health Institute, and Cleveland Clinic Children’s. The center provides services for both maternal and fetal conditions in pregnancy, labor, delivery, and during the postpartum and neonatal periods. The center’s multidisciplinary team is comprised of highly skilled healthcare professionals across multiple adult and pediatric specialties, including the No. 1 hospital in the nation for heart care. The center also includes a Special Delivery Unit that provides mothers, unborn babies and newborns with advanced diagnostic and treatment options – from fetal MRI and in-utero intervention, to immediate newborn surgery.
Prior to joining Cleveland Clinic, Dr. Cass was faculty at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, and the surgical director of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Texas Children’s Hospital. He co-founded and co-directed Texas Children’s Fetal Center, one of only three centers worldwide to have performed successful fetal surgery for life-threatening conditions.
Dr. Cass earned his medical degree from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine. He trained with the founding fathers of fetal surgery and completed postdoctoral research fellowships at the Fetal Treatment Center of the University of California, San Francisco, and the Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
Dr. Cass is considered a worldwide leader in diagnosis and treatment of fetuses with surgically correctable birth defects. He is the recipient of numerous awards for his research on fetal surgery and clinical excellence. His research interests focus on the prenatal diagnosis and treatment of fetuses and neonates with congenital problems, including lung malformations and diaphragmatic hernia. He has served as principal investigator on multiple research studies relevant to fetal surgery and fetal healing and has authored more than 130 research papers. He is cited in more than 2,800 publications. Dr. Cass has been an invited reviewer for multiple medical journals, including the Journal of Pediatric Surgery, Pediatrics, and Journal of Surgical Research.
Dr. Cass has served in leadership positions for more than a decade. He has served on the executive board of the North American Fetal Treatment Network and a liaison to the American Pediatric Surgery Society. He is on the Publications Committee of the American Pediatric Surgery Association, and has served as the Program Committee Chair of the International Fetal Medicine and Surgery Society. He is a member of the American College of Surgeons, the American Pediatric Surgical Association, and the International Fetal Medicine and Surgery Society.
Dr. Cass is a Colonel in the Medical Corps of the United States Army Reserves.
For more information, please visit Cleveland Clinic’s Fetal Care Center.