Operative Ultrasonography for Upper Genital Tract Pathology

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A procedure using transvaginal sonohysterography (SHG) to perform operative intrauterine biopsies and resections is described.


Seven women, six with intrauterine pathology noted on diagnostic SHG and one with a thickened endometrium noted on transvaginal ultrasonography, underwent attempted operative SHG. The indications were peri- and postmenopausal bleeding (n = 4) and infertility requiring assisted reproduction (n = 3). Access to the uterine cavity was accomplished with a 9-F cervical access catheter (CAC) with a 3-ml balloon (BEI Medical Systems, ZSI Gynecology Products Division, Chatsworth, CA), which was placed in the cervical canal or lower uterine segment. Depending on the position of the noted uterine pathology, a 6-F uterine ostial access catheter (UOAC) (BEI Medical Systems, ZSI Gynecology Products Division) was placed through the CAC. The uterine cavity was distended with 5-10 ml of 1% Lidocaine and a 3-F loop grasper or finger-like biopsy grasper was then passed through the UOAC or a 5-F operative instrument directly within the CAC with attempted resection under ultrasound guidance. Biopsied samples were sent to pathology for definitive diagnosis. Office hysteroscopy was then performed to confirm adequate resection.


Three of six patients had adequate resection or biopsy of intrauterine pathology, while the seventh patient successfully had a directed biopsy of the fundal cavity under ultrasound guidance. In one case, the visualized lesion could not be grasped. In the other two cases, each patient had severe cervical stenosis and declined in-office cervical dilation precluding the procedure. Each procedure was well tolerated, with an average time from start to finish of about 25 min (range, 18-43 min) without complications.


Operative SHG makes it possible to resect and biopsy intrauterine pathology often missed on Pipelle sampling. If found to be as effective as hysteroscopy, operative SHG would provide a cost-effective alternative. Further study is ongoing to perfect the existing instruments to allow removal of larger lesions both safe and possible.

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