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BMJ. 2008 Sep 18;337:a1284. doi: 10.1136/bmj.a1284.

Perinatal mortality and other severe adverse pregnancy outcomes associated with treatment of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia: meta-analysis.

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Scientific Institute of Public Health, Brussels, Belgium.



To assess the relative risk of perinatal mortality, severe preterm delivery, and low birth weight associated with previous treatment for precursors of cervical cancer.


Medline and Embase citation tracking from January 1960 to December 2007. Selection criteria Eligible studies had data on severe pregnancy outcomes for women with and without previous treatment for cervical intraepithelial neoplasia. Considered outcomes were perinatal mortality, severe preterm delivery (<32/34 weeks), extreme preterm delivery (<28/30 weeks), and low birth weight (<2000 g, <1500 g, and <1000 g). Excisional and ablative treatment procedures were distinguished.


One prospective cohort and 19 retrospective studies were retrieved. Cold knife conisation was associated with a significantly increased risk of perinatal mortality (relative risk 2.87, 95% confidence interval 1.42 to 5.81) and a significantly higher risk of severe preterm delivery (2.78, 1.72 to 4.51), extreme preterm delivery (5.33, 1.63 to 17.40), and low birth weight of <2000 g (2.86, 1.37 to 5.97). Laser conisation, described in only one study, was also followed by a significantly increased chance of low birth weight of <2000 g and <1500 g. Large loop excision of the transformation zone and ablative treatment with cryotherapy or laser were not associated with a significantly increased risk of serious adverse pregnancy outcomes. Ablation by radical diathermy was associated with a significantly higher frequency of perinatal mortality, severe and extreme preterm delivery, and low birth weight below 2000 g or 1500 g.


In the treatment of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia, cold knife conisation and probably both laser conisation and radical diathermy are associated with an increased risk of subsequent perinatal mortality and other serious pregnancy outcomes, unlike laser ablation and cryotherapy. Large loop excision of the transformation zone cannot be considered as completely free of adverse outcomes.

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