Transabdominal cervical cerclage has a greater than 99 percent success rate in preventing pregnancy loss among women with the most challenging cases of incompetent cervix (cervical insufficiency). For decades, women have traveled to the University of Chicago Medicine from both coasts and everywhere in between for this life-changing surgical procedure. Our experts perform more than 200 abdominal cerclages per year.

In a transabdominal cerclage procedure, a gynecologic surgeon makes an incision in the lower abdomen near the bikini line. Through this transabdominal incision, the surgeon places a small, woven synthetic band high on the cervix. The band supports the cervix, preventing it from opening and losing the pregnancy. Blood flow from the uterine artery remains unaffected.

As with any surgery, there are some risks to cerclage procedures. If you think you may be a candidate for transabdominal cerclage, discuss potential risks and benefits with your doctor.

More than 99 percent of women carry a full-term pregnancy and deliver by C-section with an abdominal cerclage. In many cases, these women have already lost multiple pregnancies due to a damaged or malformed cervix or experienced a failed transvaginal cerclage.

Yes, in fact, it's recommended. At UChicago Medicine, the majority of our incompetent cervix patients have an abdominal cerclage placed before they try to conceive again. Typically, the cerclage is placed approximately 90 days after a prior pregnancy loss. The advantages of transabdominal cerclage before pregnancy are that it eliminates any risk to the fetus and enables cerclage placement as high as possible around the cervix.

Due to certain risks, abdominal cerclage placement is not an option for many women during pregnancy. However, in cases when a pregnant woman is eligible, we recommend placement during the eighth week of gestation. At this point, risks to the mother and the fetus are minimal.

Transabdominal cerclage does not require bed rest. However, the patient will need to have a cesarean delivery (C-section), which can be performed through the same bikini line incision used to place the cerclage. The band is safe to stay in the body and will be just as effective during later pregnancies.

Our Transabdominal Cerclage Experts