What is placenta accreta?

What is placenta accreta?2017-02-21T15:35:11+00:00
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Placenta accreta is a rare condition in which there is an abnormality in the way the placenta develops such that the finger-like protrusions – called villi – are attached to the uterine muscle rather than to the topmost layer of the lining of the womb. When the uterus contracts after delivery, the placenta remains stubbornly attached rather than separating neatly from the lining of the womb. Bleeding results and can be very heavy. Surgical treatment is needed to remove as much of the placental tissue as possible. Sometimes hysterectomy is required for severe degrees of placenta accreta. If you do not become pregnant again, there is no reason why this should cause you any further problem. If any placental tissue remains, there may be a small risk of infection, so if you do continue to bleed for a prolonged period or suffer unpleasant discharge or pain, it would be wise to report this to your GP who could send swabs to the laboratory and treat you with antibiotics.

If you do become pregnant again, there is a chance that you will develop this condition again. Once you have had the condition, the structure of the lining of the womb is disrupted to some extent and this encourages the placenta to form in the same way again. I’m afraid that I cannot put a figure upon the risk of recurrence. Any future delivery would need to be by caesarean, and there would be a risk of hysterectomy, but this is by no means invariable.

Dr Jo Lee