Subseptate Uterus

Definition - What does Subseptate Uterus mean?

A subseptate uterus is a structural abnormality of the uterus where a septum extending from the upper wall of the uterus partially divides the uterine cavity into two compartments that are connected at the lower segment. This can create a "heart-shaped" interior, with the center portion (septum) extending into the uterine cavity from the top of the uterus.

The presence of a septum can interfere with the implantation of an embryo in the uterine wall and as compared to a normal uterus, a subseptate uterus does not have adequate room to support a pregnancy until childbirth, therefore it can lead to infertility and recurrent pregnancy loss.

FertilitySmarts explains Subseptate Uterus

A septate uterus is the most common type of birth abnormality of the uterus. It results from an abnormality in the development of the female reproductive system during the fetal life. A septate uterus typically does not produce any symptoms, therefore, it often remains undiagnosed until the patient develops a pregnancy complication or undergoes imaging for an unrelated cause.

Based on how far down the septum extends, a septate uterus can be classified into 3 types.

  1. Subseptate uterus - The septum does not extend up to the cervix.
  2. Complete septate uterus - The septum extends up to the cervix
  3. Septate uterus and vagina - The septum extends to the vagina

A subseptate uterus is the mildest form of this abnormality, but it can be associated with pregnancy-related complications such as recurrent miscarriage, premature labor, and breech presentation. Miscarriages are characteristically more common in the second trimester in women with a subseptate uterus.

A subseptate uterus can be detected using an ultrasound scan or a hysterosalpingogram, where a dye is injected through the cervix and the shape of the uterine cavity is visualized through x-ray images. The most accurate diagnostic test to confirm a subseptate uterus is MRI.

Subseptate uterus can be surgically corrected to improve the success rate of pregnancy.

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