When an embryo attaches and begins to grow somewhere other than in the uterus, it is called an ectopic pregnancy. It occurs most often in the fallopian tube, though an embryo can attach to the scar tissue from a previous cesarean section delivery. This rare and life-threatening complication is called a cesarean scar ectopic pregnancy.
Cesarean scar ectopic pregnancy: Symptoms and diagnosis
A cesarean scar ectopic pregnancy most often has no symptoms, though some women may experience vaginal bleeding or mild abdominal pain. An ultrasound or advanced imaging is required for diagnosis. For women who’ve had a prior C-section delivery, an early first trimester ultrasound would be recommended to ensure there are no complications. If this type of ectopic pregnancy is identified, your doctor will refer you to a high-risk pregnancy specialist to discuss treatment.
Risks to the mother
- The uterine wall is strong and provides a viable place for the embryo to attach and grow. Scar tissue, however, is likely to tear and cause heavy internal bleeding.
- Other risks include preterm delivery, a ruptured uterus that requires a hysterectomy, or placenta growth either too deep in the uterine wall or completely through the wall and into nearby organs.
- This type of ectopic is rarely viable and must be medically or surgically removed to avoid serious or fatal complications for the mother.
The specialists at UF Health Maternal and Fetal Medicine in Jacksonville are renowned in the area for diagnosing and treating cesarean scar ectopics pregnancies.
- Our Maternal and Fetal Medicine physicians work in conjunction with our expert gynecologic surgeons to provide care for these patients. The team receives referrals from gynecologists practicing all around Northeast Florida and southern Georgia.
- In almost all cases, to prevent life-threatening complications for the mother, the ectopic tissue must be removed. Our highly trained physicians will consult with patients about the most appropriate way to remove a cesarean scar ectopic pregnancy and prevent a recurrence as well as determine treatment implications for a future pregnancy.
- Options may include medication, ultrasound-guided surgery through the vagina or laparoscopic surgery to also remove existing scar tissue. Our accomplished physicians will work with you to find the treatment that will provide you with the best possible outcome.