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Cervical cerclage.

Cervical cerclage involves the placement of sutures, wires, or synthetic tape to mechanically increase the tensile strength of the cervix. The procedure is done either electively or emergently (rescue) to reduce the risk of cervical insufficiency and the resultant second-trimester recurrent pregnancy loss.

After reviewing the 2006 article in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology by Dr. Roberto Romero and his associates, the subsequent letter to the editors by Sietske M. Althuisius, Ph.D., and Pieter Hummel, Ph.D., and the author's reply, debate still lingers about whether credit should be given to Lazare Riviere, in his 1655 article published in Latin, for the first description of cervical insufficiency. By 1678, A. Cole, N. Culpepper, and W. Rowland described this entity in their book "Practice of Physick":"The second fault in women which hindered conception is when the seed is not retained or the orifice of the womb is so slack that it cannot rightly contract itself to keep in the seed; which is chiefly caused by abortion or hard labor and childbirth, whereby the fibers of the womb are broken in pieces one from another and the inner orifice of the womb overmuch slackened."

Three hundred years later, in an 1865 letter to the editor of the Lancet, G.T Gream described a patient who had previously undergone cervical surgery "as a cure for dysmenorrhea and sterility." Gream wrote: "She had arrived at about the fourth month of pregnancy; telling me--without, however, attributing her pregnancy to the operation--that the uterus had 6 years before been operated upon; and so complete had been the division of the cervix that the finger could readily be introduced into the uterine cavity, and the membranes of the ovum could be touched, as they can be sometimes during the last days of gestation. ... According to prognostications, abortion resulted but a few weeks afterwards, from the inability' of the uterus to retain its contents."

V.N. Shirodkar, professor of midwifery and gynecology at Grant Medical College in Bombay, India, is credited with the introduction of cervical cerclage into modern obstetric practice in 1955. The need was based on his finding that "some women abort[ed] repeatedly between the fourth and seventh month and no amount of rest and treatment with hormones seemed to help them in retaining the product of conception." This was immediately followed by Ian McDonald's report from the Royal Melbourne Hospital on his cerclage experience in 70 patients in 1957.

In this edition of Master Class in Gynecologic Surgery, I have asked Dr. Andrew I. Brill, director of minimally invasive gynecology, reparative pelvic surgery, and training at the California Pacific Medical Center, San Francisco, and former president of the AAGL, as well as Dr. Michael Katz, clinical professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences, University of California, San Francisco, and chief of perinatal services at California Pacific Medical Center, to discuss interval cervicoisthmic cerclage, with an emphasis on a laparoscopic approach.

Dr. Brill coauthored the first report on a laparoscopic preconceptional cervicoisthmic cerclage in a woman with repeated midtrimester cervical cerclage failure for the journal of Minimally Invasive Gynecology. Despite being an experienced vaginal surgeon and having extensive experience in classical transvaginal cervicoisthmic cerclage, upon observing Dr. Brill's laparoscopic technique, Dr. Katz became familiar with the benefits of this approach. It is our intent that after reading this edition of the Master Class in Gynecologic Surgery, you will, too.


DR. MILLER is clinical associate professor, University of Chicago and University of Illinois at Chicago, and president of the AAGL. He is a reproductive endocrinologist in private practice in Schaumburg, Ill., and Naperville, Ill., and the medical editor of this column.
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Title Annotation:MASTER CLASS
Author:Miller, Charles E.
Publication:OB GYN News
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 1, 2009
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