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How is placenta accreta diagnosed?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner
Placenta accreta may or may not be diagnosed before delivery. If you are at risk for it, though, doctors will perform an ultrasound, abdominally and/or vaginally, to take a closer look at where the placenta meets the uterine wall. If an ultrasound cannot detect the condition, though, your doctor may use an MRI or a Doppler flow study to make the diagnosis. Otherwise, the diagnosis comes at delivery when the placenta will not come away from its place of attachment in the uterus.
Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

During pregnancy the suspicion of placenta accreta is based on a history of pervious cesarean births, uterine surgeries such as myomectomy or repeated D&C. A Doppler ultrasound and an MRI can give additional data of a suspected abnormal placenta, but do not provide a certain diagnosis. After birth, placenta accrete is suspected when the placenta does not spontaneously separate and does not separate in response to medications or manual attempts to remove it. The only definitive diagnosis is by pathologic examination of the placenta uterine interface to demonstrate adherence of the myometrial tissue to the maternal surface of the placenta.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.