Overcoming the challenging cervix: Techniques to access the uterine cavity

Mindy S. Christianson, Matthew A. Barker, Steven R. Lindheim

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE. To identify cervical stenosis and review medical, surgical, and radiological modalities to access the uterine cavity. MATERIALS AND METHODS. Computerized searches of Medline and PubMed from 1996 to 2005 were conducted using the key words "cervix," "cervical ripening," and "cervical stenosis." References from identified publications were manually searched and cross-referenced to identify additional relevant articles. We review relevant techniques on how to access the uterine cavity when cervical stenosis is encountered. RESULTS. Many gynecologic procedures require uncomplicated access through the cervix to access the uterine cavity, including hysteroscopy, dilation and curettage, sonohysterogram, hysterosalpingogram, endometrial biopsy, and embryo transfer for in vitro fertilization. These procedures can be quite complicated when a cervix is obstructed. Management techniques described include the medical use of misoprostol and laminaria, intraoperative ultrasound guidance, and operative creation of a new passage. Additionally, techniques for bypassing the obstructed cervix and preventing cervical stenosis have been described. CONCLUSIONS. Cervical stenosis can result in iatrogenic complications. Preoperative identification, cervical ripening agents, osmotic dilators, and the use of ultrasound guidance are useful in overcoming cervical stenosis. It is also key to identify those at risk for cervical stenosis and implement preventative techniques as needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)24-31
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of lower genital tract disease
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008


  • Cervical stenosis
  • Laminaria
  • Misoprostol
  • Ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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