Cesarean scar defects: management of an iatrogenic pathology whose prevalence has dramatically increased

Cesarean scar defects constitute an iatrogenic pathology with potentially unpleasant symptoms that can be managed by medical therapy, hysteroscopic resection, or laparoscopic/vaginal repair.

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Volume 113, Issue 4, Pages 704–716


Olivier Donnez, M.D., Ph.D.


Around 20% of pregnant women undergo cesarean section (CS), and in most regions of the world CS rates continue to grow. There is still no clear definition of what is considered a normal physiologic aspect of a CS scar and what is abnormal. Cesarean scar defects (CSDs) should be suspected in women presenting with spotting, dysmenorrhea, pelvic pain, or infertility and a history of CS. CSDs can be visualized with the use of hysterosalpingography, transvaginal sonography, saline infusion sonohysterography, hysteroscopy, and magnetic resonance imaging. It is reasonable to consider hormone therapy for CSDs as a symptomatic treatment in women who no longer wish to conceive and have no contraindications. In case of failure of or contraindications to medical treatment, surgery should be contemplated according to the severity of symptoms, including infertility, the desire or otherwise to preserve the uterus, the size of the CSD, and residual myometrium thickness (RMT) measurement. Hysteroscopy is considered to be more of a resection than a repair, so women who desire pregnancy should be excluded from this technique if the RMT is <3 mm, in which case repair is essential and can be achieved by only laparoscopic or vaginal approach. Women with CSDs need to be given complete information, including available literature, before any treatment decision is made. Because prevention is better than cure, risk factors should be identified early to ensure appropriate management.

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Fertility and Sterility

Editorial Office, American Society for Reproductive Medicine

Fertility and Sterility® is an international journal for obstetricians, gynecologists, reproductive endocrinologists, urologists, basic scientists and others who treat and investigate problems of infertility and human reproductive disorders.