PURPOSE: The aim of our study was to investigate the sonographic changes of the cervical length during pregnancy after the placement of a transvaginal cervical cerclage (TVC) or a laparoscopic abdominal cerclage (LAC) in patients with cervical insufficiency (CI).
METHODS: Between January 2008 and March 2015, a retrospective analysis of all women undergoing a prophylactic laparoscopic (LAC group) or transvaginal (TVC group) cerclage due to cervical insufficiency was conducted. Nonparametric variables were analysed with the Mann-Whitney (U) test, and categorical-type outcomes were analysed with the Fisher's exact test. A p value <0.05 was considered as significant. Data analysis was performed using Prism 5 for Mac OS X.
RESULTS: Thirty-eight patients were included. Of these, 18 and 20 underwent an LAC and a TVC, respectively. Mean gestational age at surgery in the LAC and TVC groups was 11.4 ± 1.6 and 17 ± 3 weeks, respectively (p < 0.05). The cervical length prior to surgery was similar among the two groups. After cerclage placement, the distance between the tape and the external cervical os differed significantly between the two groups (LAC: 31.5 ± 8.8 mm vs TVC: 13.5 ± 4.9 mm; p < 0.0001) (Fig. 1). During pregnancy, the cervical length in the TVC group showed a significant shortening (from 26.6 ± 7 mm before surgery to 13.2 ± 7 mm at 33 weeks; p < 0.0001), while in the LAC group, the cervical length remained unchanged.
CONCLUSIONS: In patients with CI, LAC is associated with a better preservation of the cervical length throughout pregnancy as compared to TVC.