Incidence of perihepatic adhesions in ectopic gestation

Obstet Gynecol. 1998 Dec;92(6):995-8. doi: 10.1016/s0029-7844(98)00344-5.


Objective: To compare the incidence of perihepatic adhesions in patients undergoing surgery for ectopic pregnancy with the incidence in patients undergoing elective laparoscopic sterilization. Fitz-Hugh-Curtis syndrome is a perihepatitis that usually occurs as a complication of pelvic inflammatory disease. Perihepatic adhesions may be an aftereffect of the acute hepatic episode, and because the cause of ectopic gestation is thought to be salpingitis, women with an ectopic gestation may also have a higher prevalence of coexisting perihepatic adhesions.

Methods: We reviewed charts of 97 women who had undergone laparoscopy or laparotomy for ectopic pregnancy (study group) and 116 women who had laparoscopic sterilization (control group). We recorded all perihepatic, pelvic, or abdominal adhesions that were documented at the time of surgery. Medical histories and sites of adhesions in the two groups were compared.

Results: The incidence of perihepatic adhesions was 14% in the study group compared with 3% in the control group (P < .01). For the total patient population, a history of pelvic infection correlated positively with the presence of perihepatic adhesions (P < .01), and the study (ectopic) group had a higher incidence of previous pelvic infection.

Conclusion: Compared with control subjects, significantly more women with ectopic pregnancies had perihepatic adhesions. In women who have history of pelvic infection or ectopic pregnancy, physicians should inquire about long-term right upper quadrant pain. The inclusion of lysis of perihepatic adhesions in the preoperative consent form may be useful.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Laparoscopy
  • Liver Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Liver Diseases / etiology*
  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease / complications
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy, Ectopic / complications*
  • Pregnancy, Ectopic / surgery
  • Sterilization, Tubal
  • Tissue Adhesions / epidemiology
  • Tissue Adhesions / etiology