Pathologic examination of fetal and placental tissue obtained by dilation and evacuation

Linda M. Ernst*, Lori Gawron, Michael K. Fritsch

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Context. - Dilation and evacuation (D&E) is an alternative method to induction of labor for pregnancy termination and intrauterine fetal demise, and it is the most common mode of second-trimester uterine evacuation in the United States. Many D&E specimens are examined in surgical pathology, and there is little information available in surgical pathology textbooks or the literature to assist pathologists in these examinations. Objective. - To provide an overview of the D&E procedure, discuss related legal issues, provide guidelines for routine pathologic examination of D&E specimens, and demonstrate the importance of careful pathologic examination of D&E specimens. Data Sources. - Case-derived material and literature review. Conclusions. - Pathologic examination of D&E specimens has been understudied. However, the available literature and our experience support the fact that careful pathologic examination of D&E specimens can identify significant fetal and placental changes that can confirm clinical diagnoses or provide definitive diagnosis, assist in explaining the cause of intrauterine fetal demise, and identify unexpected anomalies that may provide further clues to a diagnostic syndrome or mechanism of anomaly formation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)326-337
Number of pages12
JournalArchives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Medical Laboratory Technology


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