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A 30-year-old woman had a history of prior cesarean section complicated by occult placenta accreta. During her subsequent pregnancy, third trimester ultrasound identified findings concerning for recurrent accreta (Figure 1). Hysterectomy was recommended if, at delivery, there was clinical evidence of accreta and routine cesarean section if not. At 37 weeks, the patient underwent repeat cesarean section. The placenta delivered spontaneously and intact and hysterectomy was not required.
The patient had worsening abdominal pain and new onset nausea 3 days postpartum. She had normal lochia and was afebrile. Pelvic computed tomography identified a normal post-gravid uterus with a small amount of blood in the endometrial canal (Supplemental Figure 1). Transabdominal ultrasound showed avascular thickening of the endometrium in the lower uterine segment, likely normal postpartum (Supplemental Figure 2). Complete blood count and coagulation lab tests were normal. Subsequent pathologic examination of the placenta identified focal occult placenta accreta (Supplemental Figure 3).
Twelve weeks following dismissal, the patient presented similar to her preceding pregnancy, with intermittent pelvic cramping and persistent vaginal bleeding after delivery. Ultrasound identified a fundal uterine lesion consistent with retained products of conception (POC) (Supplemental Figure 4) and the patient elected for hysteroscopic resection. At hysteroscopy, there was a 2 cm mass at the uterine fundus consistent with retained POC (Figure 2); the lesion was resected and the patient’s symptoms resolved.
Retained POC often is placental tissue that persists in the uterus after delivery or evacuation. Abnormal placentation, such as placenta accreta, can increase risk of retained POC.
Clinically, placenta accreta often leads to combined cesarean section and hysterectomy secondary to obvious placental attachment to the myometrium or hemorrhage after manually separating the placenta from the underlying myometrium.