Surgical Techniques

Transabdominal cerclage for managing recurrent pregnancy loss

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Transabdominal cerclage is an option for certain patients

In transabdominal cerclage, an abdominal approach is used to place a stitch at the cervicouterine junction. With this approach, the cerclage can reach a closer proximity to the internal os compared with the vaginal approach, providing better support of the cervical tissue (FIGURE 2).11 Whether performed via laparotomy or laparoscopy, the transabdominal cerclage procedure likely carries higher morbidity than a transvaginal approach, and cesarean delivery is required after placement.

Since transvaginal cerclage often is successful, in most cases the transabdominal approach should not be viewed as the first-line treatment for cervical insufficiency if a history-indicated transvaginal cerclage has not been attempted. For women who fail a history-indicated transvaginal cerclage, however, a transabdominal cerclage has been proven to decrease the rate of preterm delivery and PPROM compared with attempting another history-indicated transvaginal cerclage.11,12

A recent systematic review of pregnancy outcomes after transabdominal cerclage placement reported neonatal survival of 96.5% and an 83% delivery rate after 34 weeks’ gestation.13 Thus, even among a population that failed transvaginal cerclage, a transabdominal cerclage has a high success rate in providing a good pregnancy outcome (TABLE). Transabdominal cerclage also can be considered as first-line treatment in patients who had prior cervical surgery or cervical deformities that might preclude the ability to place a cerclage transvaginally.

CASE Continued: A candidate for transabdominal cerclage

Given the patient’s poor obstetric history, which includes a preterm delivery and neonatal loss despite a history-indicated cerclage, you recommend that the patient have a transabdominal cerclage placed as the procedure has been proven to increase the chances of neonatal survival and delivery after 34 weeks in women with a similar obstetric history. The patient is interested in this option and asks about how this cerclage is placed and when it would need to be placed during her next pregnancy.

Surgical technique for transabdominal cerclage placement

A transabdominal cerclage can be placed via laparotomy, laparoscopy, or robot-assisted laparoscopy. No differences in obstetric outcomes have been shown between the laparotomy and laparoscopic approaches.14,15 Given the benefits of minimally invasive surgery, a laparoscopic or robot-assisted approach is preferred when feasible.

Additionally, for ease of placement, transabdominal cerclage can be placed prior to conception—known as interval placement—or during pregnancy between 10 and 14 weeks (preferably closer to 10 weeks). Because of the increased difficulty in placing a cerclage in the gravid uterus, interval transabdominal cerclage placement is recommended when possible.13,16 Authors of one observational study noted that improved obstetric outcomes occurred with interval placement compared with cerclage placement between 9 and 10 weeks’ gestation, with a delivery rate at more than 34 weeks’ gestation in 90% versus 74% of patients, respectively.16

Continue to: Steps for interval cerclage and during pregnancy...

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