A uterine malformation is the result of an abnormal development of the Mullerian duct(s) during embryogenesis. Symptoms range from amenorrhea, infertility and pain, to normal functioning depending on the nature of the defect. Uterine malformations affect about 1% of the female population.
The American Fertility Society (now American Society of Reproductive Medicine) Classification distinguishes:
An additional variation is the arcuate uterus where there is a concave dimple in the uterine fundus within the cavity.
A rudimentary uterus is a uterine remnant not connected to cervix and vagina and may be found on the other side of an unicornuate uterus.
Patients with uterine abnormalities may have associated renal abnormalities including unilateral renal agenesis.
Uterine Didelphys is a rare type of deformity (1 in 1000 women) in the female reproductive organs in which some organs may be either split or duplicated. Typically, some of these "extra" organs are non-functional or semi-functional appendages, although on occasion they will be completely functional in all normal respects, and often independently. As the vagina is largely derived from the Mullerian ducts, lack of fusion of the two ducts can lead to the formation of a vaginal septum, or "double vagina", a condition sometimes called with a uterus didelphys or a uterine septum.
Besides a physical examination, the physician will need imaging techniques to determine the character of the malformation: gynecologic ultrasonography, pelvic MRI, or hysterosalpingography. A hysterosalpingogram is not considered as useful due to the inability of the technique to evaluate the exterior contour of the uterus and distinguish between a bicornuate and septate uterus. In addition, laparoscopy and/or hysteroscopy may be indicated. In some patients the vaginal development may be affected.
Surgical intervention depends on the extent of the individual problem. With a didelphic uterus surgery is not usually recommended. A uterine septum can be resected in a simple out-patient procedure that combines laparoscopy and hysteroscopy. This procedure greatly decreases the rate of miscarriage for women with this anomaly.
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