The human cervix serves a dual structural function throughout pregnancy. Prior to term, the cervix remains closed and firm to support the increasing weight of the fetus. At term, it must soften ( i.e., ripen) and dilate to permit birth. Timing of cervical ripening is critical for pregnancy outcome. Cervical insufficiency, or preterm ripening, is diagnosed if a cervix is not stiff enough to support the pregnancy to term and may cause miscarriage or preterm labor. This is sometimes observed mid-pregnancy when funneling at the internal os or shortening of the cervix is observed during a routine ultrasound. Women with a shorter cervix are at a higher risk for spontaneous preterm delivery. 1,2 While cervical length is not a definitive predictor of preterm delivery, a short cervix increases the risk. Moreover, the exact length at which the cervix is considered to be ‘short’ is poorly defined. While transvaginal B-mode ultrasound can identify a short cervix, this procedure is performed when clinically indicated. Cervical ripening and effacement is asymptomatic and thus is often missed until after a patient has suffered a second or third trimester miscarriage.
- Bioengineering Division
Cervical Assessment via Ultrasound Elastography: Calibrated Reference Material Development
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Briggs, BN, Donnelly, M, & Ferguson, VL. "Cervical Assessment via Ultrasound Elastography: Calibrated Reference Material Development." Proceedings of the ASME 2013 Summer Bioengineering Conference. Volume 1B: Extremity; Fluid Mechanics; Gait; Growth, Remodeling, and Repair; Heart Valves; Injury Biomechanics; Mechanotransduction and Sub-Cellular Biophysics; MultiScale Biotransport; Muscle, Tendon and Ligament; Musculoskeletal Devices; Multiscale Mechanics; Thermal Medicine; Ocular Biomechanics; Pediatric Hemodynamics; Pericellular Phenomena; Tissue Mechanics; Biotransport Design and Devices; Spine; Stent Device Hemodynamics; Vascular Solid Mechanics; Student Paper and Design Competitions. Sunriver, Oregon, USA. June 26–29, 2013. V01BT52A006. ASME. https://doi.org/10.1115/SBC2013-14819
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