Background: Brachytherapy is an integral component of the curative treatment of locally advanced cervical cancer. Optimal applicator placement is associated with improvements in local control and treatment-related toxicity. Uterine perforation by the tandem is common and often undetected by orthogonal radiographs. The role of ultrasound in guiding tandem placement remains controversial.
Methods: A 55-year-old woman with International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics stage IIB cervix cancer underwent placement of a Fletcher-Suit-Delcos tandem and ovoids applicator. Postoperative computed tomography was used for treatment planning.
Results: The applicator appeared to be appropriately placed on clinical exam and orthogonal radiographs. Postoperative computed tomography revealed the tandem had perforated the anterior uterine wall. In a second procedure, the tandem was placed correctly under intraoperative ultrasonography.
Conclusions: A review of the literature finds a relatively high rate of uterine perforation of the uterus that is undetected by orthogonal radiographs or clinical examination. Multiple reports support the use of real-time ultrasound for patients with especially challenging anatomy. As this report illustrates, uterine perforation is possible in any patient. Therefore, routine real-time ultrasonography should be considered for all uterine tandem insertions.
- Cervical cancer
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The authors have no relevant financial relationships to disclose.