Cervical incompetence: preliminary evaluation with MR imaging

H Hricak, Y C Chang, C E Cann, J T Parer
Radiology 1990, 174 (3 Pt 1): 821-6
The ability of magnetic resonance (MR) imaging to demonstrate cervical incompetence in nonpregnant women was investigated in a prospective study of 41 volunteers referred in random order. These included 20 patients with normal cervices, 11 with cervical incompetence of traumatic or congenital origin, and 10 with clinically small cervices due to in utero diethylstilbestrol (DES) exposure. On MR images of the normal patients, cervical length was 33.0 mm +/- 1.0 (mean +/- standard error of the mean) and the width of the internal cervical os was 3.3 mm +/- 0.1. In patients with cervical incompetence, the cervical length did not significantly differ from those in the normal group. However, the internal cervical os was significantly wider (4.5 mm +/- 0.3, P less than .001), and localized irregularity of the endocervical canal was demonstrated in two patients. The MR appearance of the cervical stroma varied from normal, uniformly low signal intensity (n = 4) to uniformly (n = 3) or partially (n = 4) medium-to-high signal intensity on T2-weighted images. In the patients with in utero DES exposure, the mean length of the cervical canal (22.9 mm +/- 1.7) was significantly shorter than that of the normal group. The width of the internal cervical os and the MR signal intensity of the cervical stroma were normal. In summary, MR findings of a cervical length shorter than 3.1 mm (95% confidence limit), an internal cervical os wider than 4.2 mm (95% confidence limit), or abnormal signal intensity in the cervical stroma are highly suggestive of incompetent cervix and should assist in planning further therapeutic decisions.

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