Ultrasonography of the Explanted Uterus in Placenta Accreta Spectrum: Correlation With Intraoperative Findings and Gross Pathology.
To better understand placenta accreta spectrum (PAS) by correlating postoperative ultrasonographic findings of the explanted uteroplacental interface with intraoperative findings and gross pathology.
We enrolled consecutive pregnant patients aged 18 years and older with a prior cesarean delivery and antenatal diagnosis of lower uterine segment PAS who planned to undergo hysterectomy into this prospective, descriptive study. All underwent cesarean hysterectomy with standardized intraoperative photography. Ultrasonography of explanted postsurgical uteruses was performed by expert radiologists to obtain standard detailed images of the myometrial-placental interface and other areas of interest. Sagittal views of the gross pathologic specimen were photographed. We correlated the intraoperative, ultrasonographic, and gross pathologic findings as a study team and report four consistent patterns that emerged from this systematic evaluation.
Thirty-four consecutive eligible patients were enrolled. The following consistent observations emerged: 1) The uteroplacental interface in the explanted specimen was smooth and distinct. At the point of maximal placental protrusion, the myometrium was imperceptible, but the placenta was confined by a smooth thin echogenic line of uterine serosa (the scar shell) unless surgically disrupted. 2) Every specimen of PAS grade 2-3 showed placenta bulging through the lower uterine segment in the region of prior hysterotomy. 3) Placentas extended to, but not through, the uterovesical interface or scar shell. Dense adhesive disease was found between the placenta and bladder. There were no cases of true bladder invasion. 4) Placental extension beyond the serosa (invasion) has a distinct appearance on postoperative ultrasonography with irregular frond-like protrusion of placental tissue. This appearance was always the result of surgical manipulation and was not present before delivery of the neonate.
These findings suggest that PAS severity is likely mediated by progressive scar dehiscence and uterine remodeling, not placental invasion. This challenges the existence of in situ invasive percreta as it is currently described.