Optimal Isthmocele Management: Hysteroscopic, Laparoscopic, or Combination

Roy Mashiach, Yechiel Z. Burke

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Objective: To conduct a systematic review of the literature on the hysteroscopic and laparoscopic repair of isthmocele. Data Sources: A thorough search of the PubMed/Medline, Embase, and Cochrane databases was performed. (PROSPERO registration number CRD42020190668). Methods of Study Selection: Studies from the last 20 years that addressed isthmocele repair were collected. Both authors screened for study eligibility and extracted data. All prospective and retrospective studies of more than 10 women were included. Tabulation, Integration, and Results: The initial search identified 666 articles (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses flow chart) (see Supplemental Fig.). We excluded duplicates, case reports, reviews, video articles, and technique articles. We also excluded studies describing only laparotomy or vaginal repair as these were not in the scope of this review. A total of 31 articles met the inclusion criteria, 21 for hysteroscopic resection and 13 for laparoscopic or combined repair (4 articles tested both modalities and appear in both Tables 1 and 2).For abnormal uterine bleeding, hysteroscopic remodeling relived symptoms in 60% to 100% of cases and laparoscopy in 78% to 94%. Secondary infertility was not evaluated in all studies. After hysteroscopic and laparoscopic treatment, 46% to 100% and 37.5% to 90% of those who wished to conceive became pregnant, after the procedure, respectively. Pain and dysmenorrhea seem to be uncommon. All studies that tested improvement of pain had fewer than 10 women. However, between 66% and 100% of women who complain of pain or dysmenorrhea will note a marked improvement to full resolution. Conclusion: Patients with an isthmocele or cesarean scar defect are usually asymptomatic. For symptomatic women, a repair is a valid option. For those with residual myometrial thickness >2 to 3 mm, hysteroscopic remodeling is the modality of choice with an improvement in abnormal uterine bleeding, secondary infertility, and pain. Women with a residual myometrial thickness <2- to 3-mm laparoscopic repair with simultaneous hysteroscopic guidance show similar results. Because available data are limited, no cutoff for the correct choice between hysteroscopy and laparoscopy can be concluded. We recommend 2.5 mm as the cutoff value based on common practice and expert opinion, although no significance between hysteroscopic and laparoscopic treatment was shown.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)565-574
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Minimally Invasive Gynecology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2021


  • Cesarean scar defect
  • Isthmocele
  • Niche
  • Residual myometrial thickness


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