Symphysiotomy for feto-pelvic disproportion.

Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, East London Hospital Complex, University of the Witwatersrand, University of Fort Hare, Eastern Cape Department of Health, Frere and Cecilia Makiwane Hospitals, Private Bag X 9047, East London, Eastern Cape, South Africa, 5200.
Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) (Impact Factor: 5.94). 01/2010;
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Symphysiotomy is an operation in which the fibres of the pubic symphysis are partially divided to allow separation of the joint and thus enlargement of the pelvic dimensions during childbirth. It is performed with local analgesia and does not require an operating theatre nor advanced surgical skills. It may be a lifesaving procedure for the mother or the baby, or both, in several clinical situations. These include: failure to progress in labour when caesarean section is unavailable, unsafe or declined by the mother; and obstructed birth of the aftercoming head of a breech presenting baby. Criticism of the operation because of complications, particularly pelvic instability, and as being a 'second best' option has resulted in its decline or disappearance from use in many countries. Several large observational studies have reported high rates of success, low rates of complications and very low mortality rates.
To determine, from the best available evidence, the effectiveness and safety of symphysiotomy versus alternative options for obstructed labour in various clinical situations.
We searched the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group's Trials Register (31 August 2010), the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (The Cochrane Library 2010, Issue 3) and PubMed (1966 to 31 August 2010).
Randomized trials comparing symphysiotomy with alternative management, or alternative techniques of symphysiotomy, for obstructed labour or obstructed aftercoming head during breech birth.
Planned methods included evaluation of studies against objective quality criteria for inclusion, extraction of data, and analysis of data using risk ratios or mean differences with 95% confidence intervals. The primary outcomes were maternal death or severe morbidity, and perinatal death or severe morbidity.
We found no randomized trials of symphysiotomy.
Because of controversy surrounding the use of symphysiotomy, and the possibility that it may be a life-saving procedure in certain circumstances, professional and global bodies should provide guidelines for the use (or non-use) of symphysiotomy based on the best available evidence (currently evidence from observational studies). Research is needed to provide robust evidence of the effectiveness and safety of symphysiotomy compared with no symphysiotomy or comparisons of alternative symphysiotomy techniques in clinical situations in which caesarean section is not available; and compared with caesarean section in clinical situations in which the relative risks and benefits are uncertain (for example in women at very high risk of complications from caesarean section).

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    ABSTRACT: Pubic symphysiotomy is a rarely performed procedure in which the pubic symphysis is divided to facilitate vaginal delivery in cases of obstructed labor. Recently, many obstetricians have shown renewed interest in this procedure. The purpose of this paper is to report the long-term radiographic findings for patients who had undergone pubic symphysiotomy compared with the radiographic appearance of a group of age-matched and parity-matched controls. This was a retrospective case-control study. Twenty-five women who had previously undergone pubic symphysiotomy for childbirth were compared with twenty-five age-matched and parity-matched controls. The radiographic parameters recorded included pubic symphysis width, pubic symphysis translation, grade of sacroiliac joint osteoarthritis, and presence of parasymphyseal degeneration. The mean time to follow-up after symphysiotomy was 41.6 years (range, twenty-two to fifty-five years). The symphysiotomy group had a significantly higher proportion of patients (80%) with high-grade sacroiliac joint osteoarthritis (Grade 3 or 4 according to the Kellgren and Lawrence osteoarthritis scoring system) than the control group (16%) (p < 0.001). Within the symphysiotomy group, patients with high-grade sacroiliac joint osteoarthritis tended to be older, have a longer time to follow-up, and have a larger pubic symphysis width. The control group had a higher prevalence of parasymphyseal degeneration than did the symphysiotomy group (p = 0.011). Late-onset sacroiliac joint osteoarthritis secondary to pelvic instability was a major finding in this study and, to our knowledge, has not been discussed previously in the literature regarding pubic symphysiotomy. Therapeutic Level III. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.
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    ABSTRACT: To compare the maternal and neonatal outcomes of symphysiotomy (SYM) and cesarean section (CS), when they were performed in women presenting with obstructed labor. This was a prospective comparative cohort study. Symphysiotomy was performed in 25 women who presented with obstructed labor. The controls were 50 women on whom CS was performed due to obstructed labor. Maternal mortality and morbidity due to postpartum hemorrhage (PPH), sepsis, genitourinary trauma, pelvic pain and gait problems were analyzed and compared between cases and controls. Neonatal mortality and morbidity due to birth asphyxia, intracranial hemorrhage, cephalohematoma and hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy were also compared following the two procedures. Maternal mortality was similar in both the cesarean section group (CSG) and symphysiotomy group (SG), but SYM has less morbidity than CS, and also preserves the uterus from scars. Transient pelvic pain was the most common maternal morbidity following SYM, whereas PPH and wound sepsis were the most common complications after CS. Neonatal mortality and morbidity were similar in both cases and controls. Lastly, SYM is a simple, low-cost and quicker procedure than CS. Symphysiotomy is an alternative management in women with obstructed labor. It has a role in low-resource settings, where CS is unaffordable, unavailable or unsafe. For the vast majority of the poor population, who may not have even have one proper meal a day, it can be of benefit to have a woman's pelvis made permanently adequate so that traditional birth attendants can conduct her subsequent labors.
    Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Research 03/2011; 37(7):770-4. · 0.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Should the indications for therapies differ from one nation to the next? What are the reasons behind controversial therapeutic variations? What roles do cultural history and authoritarian conflict among clinicians play in the adoption of therapies? When I worked at a rural hospital in Kenya, a woman experiencing obstructed labor made me ponder many questions-but only after our emergency ended in the death of her newborn son. In recounting and learning from this episode, I listened to the disparate Kenyan voices of the patient, the hospital's director, the consultant obstetrician, and to the even more controversial voices of evidence-based medicine. In reflecting on this process, I have learned at least 3 lessons-about the transmissibility of arrogance, the role of guests in other countries, and the nature of science.
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