Change of the residual myometrial thickness during pregnancy in women who underwent laparoscopic niche resection compared with controls without niche surgery: a prospective comparative cohort study

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Background: Reduced residual myometrial thickness before and during pregnancy is associated with uterine rupture or dehiscence after vaginal birth after cesarean delivery. Laparoscopic niche resection performed in case of gynecologic symptoms has shown to increase residual myometrial thickness 6 months after surgery. Objective: This study aimed to evaluate the change in residual myometrial thickness from baseline value before pregnancy to the third trimester of pregnancy in women with and without laparoscopic niche resection and evaluate niche presence, niche size during pregnancy vs before pregnancy, and obstetrical outcomes, including uterine rupture and dehiscence in both study groups. Study Design: This was a prospective cohort study conducted in an academic medical center. Of note, 2 groups of pregnant women with a previously diagnosed niche were included: (1) women with a large symptomatic niche (residual myometrial thickness of <3 mm) followed by laparoscopic niche resection (LNR group) and (2) women with a niche without niche resection because of minimal symptoms or a residual myometrial thickness of ≥3 mm diagnosed before current pregnancy (expectant group). Participants underwent a transvaginal ultrasound at 12, 20, and 30 weeks of gestation. Changes in residual myometrial thickness and changes in niche measurements over time were analyzed with linear mixed models. Results: A total of 100 women were included, 61 in the LNR group and 39 in the expectant group. The change in residual myometrial thickness from baseline value before niche resection to the third trimester of pregnancy was +2.0 mm in the LNR group vs −1.6 mm in the expectant group (P<.001). Residual myometrial thickness decreased from the first trimester of pregnancy onward in both groups. Although residual myometrial thickness was thinner at baseline in the LNR group, it was thicker in the LNR group than in the expectant group during all trimesters: 3.2 mm (P<.001) in the first trimester of pregnancy, 2.5 mm (P<.001) in the second trimester of pregnancy, and 1.8 mm (P=.001) in the third trimester of pregnancy. Uterine dehiscence was reported in 1 of 50 women (2%) in the LNR group and 7 of 36 women (19%) in the expectant group (P=.007) and was related to the depth of niche–to–residual myometrial thickness ratio before pregnancy (after niche resection) and residual myometrial thickness in the second trimester of pregnancy. No uterine rupture was reported. Most patients received a scheduled cesarean delivery in both groups. There was more blood loss during subsequent cesarean delivery in the LNR group than in the expectant group. Conclusion: Here, laparoscopic niche resection resulted in an increased residual myometrial thickness during a subsequent pregnancy. Moreover, a lower number of dehiscence was found in the LNR group than in the expectant group without niche surgery. Per-section blood loss was higher in the LNR group than in the expectant group. In general, laparoscopic niche resection is performed to improve gynecologic symptoms. Currently, there is no evidence to support a laparoscopic niche resection to improve obstetrical outcomes, but the trend toward more uterine dehiscence encourages further research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)901.e1-901.e12
JournalAmerican Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number6
Early online date2022
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


  • cesarean delivery
  • cicatrix
  • laparoscopic resection
  • pregnancy
  • ultrasonography

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