Objective: To assess the frequency of cervical stenosis in patients treated by laser conization or the loop electrosurgical excision procedure and to determine the preoperative and therapeutic factors associated with its occurrence.
Methods: Two hundred fifty-five women treated by laser conization and 277 treated by loop electrosurgical excision procedure were followed regularly by postoperative colposcopy for mean periods of 38 and 16 months, respectively. Stenosis was defined as cervical narrowing that prevented insertion of a 2.5-mm Hegar dilator.
Results: Thirty-eight cases of cervical stenosis, of which seven were complete, were diagnosed up to 28 months after treatment. The risk of postoperative cervical stenosis was higher for patients over 50 years of age (relative risk [RR] 3.07, 95% confidence interval [95% CI] 1.30, 7.26; P = .031), for those with a totally endocervical lesion (RR 3.79, 95% CI 1.88, 7.62; P = .001), for those with an excision 20 mm high or greater (RR 2.96, 95% CI 1.63, 5.38; P = .005), and for those with laser conization (RR 2.35, 95% CI 1.24, 4.46; P = .009). Parity, menopause, previous treatment for cervical intraepithelial neoplasia, satisfactory colposcopy, size of the lesion, its histologic diagnosis, and the extent of excision did not increase the risk for cervical stenosis. Excision was not as high with loop electrosurgical excision as with laser conization (14.3 +/- 5.0 mm versus 20.2 +/- 6.0 mm). The height of excision (RR 1.95, 95% CI 1.02, 3.76; P = .04) and a totally endocervical lesion (RR 5.07, 95% CI 1.96, 14.44; P = .001) were the only independent factors associated with postoperative stenosis identified by a multivariate analysis using logistic regression.
Conclusion: The height of excision and a totally endocervical lesion were the main factors associated with cervical stenosis. The decreased risk associated with the loop electrosurgical excision procedure seems to be due to a shorter endocervical excision.