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Semin Perinatol. 2009 Apr;33(2):88-96. doi: 10.1053/j.semperi.2008.12.003.

Abnormal placentation.

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  • 1Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY 10032, USA.


Abnormal placentation poses a diagnostic and treatment challenge for all providers caring for pregnant women. As one of the leading causes of postpartum hemorrhage, abnormal placentation involves the attachment of placental villi directly to the myometrium with potentially deeper invasion into the uterine wall or surrounding organs. Surgical procedures that disrupt the integrity of uterus, including cesarean section, dilatation and curettage, and myomectomy, have been implicated as key risk factors for placenta accreta. The diagnosis is typically made by gray-scale ultrasound and confirmed with magnetic resonance imaging, which may better delineate the extent of placental invasion. It is critical to make the diagnosis before delivery because preoperative planning can significantly decrease blood loss and avoid substantial morbidity associated with placenta accreta. Aggressive management of hemorrhage through the use of uterotonics, fluid resuscitation, blood products, planned hysterectomy, and surgical hemostatic agents can be life-saving for these patients. Conservative management, including the use of uterine and placental preservation and subsequent methotrexate therapy or pelvic artery embolization, may be considered when a focal accreta is suspected; however, surgical management remains the current standard of care.

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