Ultrasonographic evaluation of the cervix: transperineal versus endovaginal imaging.
OBJECTIVE: This study compares transperineal and endovaginal ultrasonography of the gravid cervix to evaluate image quality and assess for a systematic difference in cervical lengths measured by the 2 techniques. METHODS: Transperineal and endovaginal ultrasonography of the cervix was performed on 64 pregnant women. Two physicians reviewed the images and rated the relative diagnostic value of the techniques for assessing the cervix and for evaluating for placenta previa. Cervical length was measured prospectively in both techniques. Data were analyzed to determine if there is a systematic difference in length using the 2 approaches and if length differences are dependent on gestational age. RESULTS: There was a strong reviewer preference for endovaginal ultrasonographic images over transperineal images for both assessing the cervix (P< .001) and evaluating for placenta previa (P< .001). Despite this, transperineal and endovaginal ultrasonographic images were frequently rated as similar in diagnostic quality by both reviewers for depicting the cervix (35.9% of patients) and evaluating for placenta previa (57.8% of patients). The mean length of the cervix was slightly shorter at transperineal ultrasonography (28.4 mm) than at endovaginal ultrasonography (30.1 mm). When cervical lengths were subdivided by gestational age, however, a significant length discrepancy was found only in the 14- to 20-week gestational age range. In this age range, mean cervical length at transperineal ultrasonography (28.6 mm) averaged 5.5 mm less than at endovaginal ultrasonography (34.1 mm). CONCLUSIONS: Both transperineal and endovaginal ultrasonography can provide satisfactory images of the cervix, but endovaginal images are frequently superior to transperineal images. Endovaginal ultrasonography should be considered the optimal method for imaging the cervix in most situations. Transabdominal or transperineal ultrasonography can also be used, but if the cervix is not adequately depicted from these perspectives, endovaginal ultrasonography is indicated. Transperineal measurements of cervical length can be significantly shorter than endovaginal measurements, particularly before 20 weeks; therefore, short cervical lengths documented at transperineal ultrasonography before 20 weeks should be confirmed by endovaginal ultrasonography.
Hertzberg, BS; Livingston, E; DeLong, DM; McNally, PJ; Fazekas, CK; Kliewer, MA
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