What is a Partial Hydatidiform Mole of the uterus?A partial hydatidiform mole of the uterus (also known simply as a partial molar pregnancy) is an abnormal pregnancy where an embryo is present but is typically malformed and unable to survive. This condition results from an abnormal conception where two sperm fertilise a single egg, leading to an embryo with an extra set of chromosomes. This chromosomal abnormality triggers an overgrowth of the placental tissue, forming a mass of cysts that resemble grape-like clusters. While it is not a form of cancer, in rare cases, a partial molar pregnancy can develop into a type of cancer known as a gestational trophoblastic disease (GTD).
Disease Aetiology (Causes)A partial hydatidiform mole is caused by abnormal fertilisation. Specifically, instead of the normal combination of one sperm and one egg, two sperm cells fertilise a single egg. This leads to an extra set of chromosomes in the embryo and triggers an overgrowth of placental tissue. Factors that may increase the risk of a molar pregnancy include maternal age (specifically women under 20 or over 35), a history of previous molar pregnancy, and certain dietary deficiencies.
DiagnosisDiagnosis of a partial hydatidiform mole of the uterus often involves:
- Detailed medical history and physical examination
- Ultrasound, which may reveal a cluster of cysts in the uterus
- Blood tests to measure levels of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), a hormone typically elevated in molar pregnancies
TreatmentThe treatment for a partial hydatidiform mole typically involves:
- Dilation and curettage (D&C): A surgical procedure to remove abnormal tissue from the uterus. It’s the most common treatment for a molar pregnancy.
- Monitoring hCG levels: Following the surgical treatment, hCG levels in the blood are regularly monitored until they return to normal, to ensure that all the molar tissue has been removed.