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What is Placenta Accreta?

What is Placenta Accreta?

Placenta accreta refers to a placenta that implants too deeply and too firmly into the uterine wall. Similarly, placenta increta and percreta refer to a placenta that imbeds itself even more deeply into uterine muscle or through the entire thickness of the uterus, sometimes extending into nearby structures, such as the bladder.

How common are placenta accreta and related disorders?

These disorders occur in about 1 in 2,500 deliveries (4). They sometimes lead to the birth of a premature baby.

What are the symptoms of placenta accreta and related disorders?

Like placenta previa, these disorders often cause vaginal bleeding in the third trimester.

Who is at risk for placenta accreta and related disorders?

These disorders occur most frequently in women who have placenta previa in the current pregnancy and also have a history of one or more c-sections or other uterine surgery (4).

How are placenta accreta and related disorders diagnosed?

These disorders can be diagnosed with an ultrasound examination. In some cases, another imaging technique called magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be recommended (4).

How are placenta accreta and related disorders treated?

In these disorders, the placenta does not completely separate from the uterus as it should following the delivery of the baby. This can lead to dangerous hemorrhage following vaginal delivery. The placenta usually must be surgically removed to stop the bleeding, and often a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) is necessary.

When placenta accreta is diagnosed before birth, a c-section immediately followed by a hysterectomy may be planned in order to reduce blood loss and complications in the mother. In some cases, other surgical procedures can be used to save the uterus.

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