Cervical cerclage, a common surgical procedure in use for the past 50
years, "does not substantially reduce the risk of early preterm delivery,"
according to a study by British researchers (Lancet.
2004;363:1849-1853). The treatment, which involves stitching the cervix to
give it added strength, has been used in women assumed to be at higher risk
of premature delivery by virtue of having a short cervix.
More than 47 000 women underwent an ultrasound examination to measure
the cervix; 470 women were found to have cervixes short enough (≤15 mm)
to put them at risk. The 253 who elected to participate in the multicenter
study were randomly assigned to undergo the procedure or to "expectant management."
About 22% of the women who were treated extended their pregnancy beyond 33
weeks, as did 26% of the control group.
Stephenson J. Reducing Preterm Delivery. JAMA. 2004;292(3):323. doi:10.1001/jama.292.3.323-d