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Pregnancy Feasible After Anterior Spinal Surgery

Small study suggests high success rate that may be associated with increased cesarean sections

THURSDAY, March 26 (HealthDay News) -- In women of childbearing age, anterior spinal surgery may not affect fertility, although it may be associated with a higher rate of cesarean section deliveries, according to the results of a study published in the April issue of The Spine Journal.

William F. Lavelle, M.D., of Albany Medical College in Albany, N.Y., and colleagues conducted a retrospective chart review combined with a telephone questionnaire of 67 patients who had undergone anterior spinal surgery by a single orthopedic surgeon.

The researchers found that 19 women attempted pregnancy after surgery and all of them achieved successful delivery. They also found that seven patients (37 percent) delivered by cesarean section and that only two patients received an epidural as analgesia for their delivery.

"Although it is conceivable that there may be an anatomical reason for the relative increase in cesarean sections for these patients, it is far more likely that their increased rate is attributable to current medical trends," the authors write. "Obstetricians appear to have a much lower threshold toward cesarean section. Possible reasons for this include an ever-increasing litigious environment in the field of obstetrics. These patients have already had major spinal surgery, which may weigh on the mind of the treating obstetrician, further lowering the threshold for cesarean section."

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