Breakthrough procedure for infertility
Women who struggle with infertility after having a C-section may have new hope for getting pregnant again.
Kimberly Selleck was one of the estimated 30 percent of women in the United States who deliver a baby by Cesarean section. That’s when incisions are made in the woman’s abdomen and uterus to remove the infant during the birthing process. After C-sections, some women can experience significant problems as a result of scar tissue near the incision.
After delivering her second child, by C-section, Kimberly Selleck and her husband, Zac, tried desperately to have a third child. For years, getting pregnant was a struggle despite exploring endless infertility options. Physician after physician told the couple that there was nothing more they could do.
“We were devastated, emotionally, physically and financially, “says Kimberly. “Even though we had quit trying for over a year, we just couldn’t give up.”
So the Selleck’s were referred to Dr. Charles E. Miller, a reproductive endocrinologist at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Ill. Kimberly was amazed when he quickly diagnosed the problem and said he could “fix it.”
“It is called an ‘isthmocele’ or ‘niche,’ a fluid-filled pouch that occurs when the uterine incision does not heal properly,” says Dr. Miller. “The resultant scar tissue at the C-section site, triggers abnormal pelvic pain and bleeding. And, in some cases it can lead to infertility.”
Dr. Miller is one of a handful of surgeons in the country pioneering a new surgical technique that repairs the problem without threatening the women’s chance for future births. Recently, he reported on his series of patients undergoing laparoscopic isthmocele repair, the largest to date, to other infertility experts, at the international meeting of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine.
“We are now seeing amazing results from a new laparoscopic surgical technique to repair the scar tissue,” says Dr. Miller.
Utilizing the daVinci robot surgery, Dr. Miller resected Kimberly’s scar tissue with great precision, avoiding any heighten risk of pregnancy-related complications later in life.
Today, Kimberly is expecting her third child, which was naturally conceived and is due to enter the world in June of 2016.
“We are seeing many women having successful, complication-free pregnancies after the procedure, without any need for further fertility treatment,” Dr. Miller says. “In many cases, women with the same problem were forced to have a hysterectomy and remove the uterus. They now have another option.”
About the Author
Evonne Woloshyn, health enews contributor, is director of public affairs at Advocate Children's Hospital. Evonne began her career as an anchor and reporter in broadcast news. Over the past 20 years, she has worked in health care marketing in both Ohio and Illinois. Evonne loves to travel, spend time with family and is an avid Pittsburgh Steelers fan!