The efficacy of 1 mg 16,16-dimethyl-trans-Δ2 prostaglandin E1 (Gemeprost) pessaries in achieving cervical dilatation prior to intracavitary brachytherapy was investigated in 16 post-menopausal women with cervical carcinoma. All had received external beam pelvic radiotherapy in the preceding 6 weeks. Four patients were nulliparous and 12 multiparous (mean parity 1.9). FIGO stages were IB (2), IIA (4), IIB (5), IIIA (1), IIIB (3), IVB (1). The cervical os was assessed before pessary insertion and again at the time of intracavitary insertion. The os was closed in 100% (16/16) of patients before and open in 75% (12/16) of patients after pessary insertion. The maximum size of Hegar dilator passed without mechanical dila-tation was recorded. Mean cervical dilatation was 4.25 H (5.5 H in those with a clinical response). The 12 responding patients had rapid and uncomplicated procedures with no need for additional mechanical dilatation. Both patients in whom attempted mechanical dilatation failed had had previous conization of the cervix. The following mild side-effects were reported: abdominal cramps (43.8%), headache (12.5%) and fever (6.3%). These data support the use of Gemeprost pessaries to achieve cervical dilatation in post-menopausal women undergoing intracavitary brachy-therapy following external beam radiotherapy.
- cervical carcinoma
- intracavitary radiotherapy
- prostaglandin-induced cervical dilatation
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