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Laser CO2 conization in postmenopausal age: risk of cervical stenosis and unsatisfactory follow-up.

OBJECTIVE: To assess chances of adequate cyto-colposcopic follow-up after laser conization performed in postmenopausal screening population by the evaluation of postoperative cervical stenosis and unsatisfactory colposcopy rates.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: One thousand two hundred eighteen patients were submitted to laser CO2 conization for cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN). Incidence and risk factors for cervical stenosis and unsatisfactory follow-up were retrospectively evaluated comparing fertile with postmenopausal patients.

RESULTS: Global incidences of postoperative unsatisfactory colposcopy and cervical stenosis were 46.2% and 7.1%. These rates were higher in postmenopausal patients compared with fertile ones, revealing a statistical correlation between unsatisfactory follow-up and postmenopausal status at the time of conization. Association between CIN relapse and cervical stenosis was significantly higher in postmenopausal group (66.7% vs. 8.6%; P <0.05), where two cases of recurrence were detected only after hysterectomy, because of an insurmountable cervical stenosis. Univariate and multivariate analysis revealed HRT use as the only significant factor in influencing postoperative cervical stenosis.

CONCLUSION: Conization is still considered as the standard treatment for CIN at any woman's age, when excisional management is indicated, but all postmenopausal patients should be counseled about the possibility of postoperative stenosis that could exclude an adequate follow-up, configuring a failure of the conservative treatment. HRT use is associated with a low risk of stenotic complications; therefore, if possible, users should be encouraged to continue therapy at least 1 year after laser conization.

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