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Clinical features and diagnosis of the morbidly adherent placenta (placenta accreta, increta, and percreta)

Robert Resnik, MD
Robert M Silver, MD
Section Editors
Charles J Lockwood, MD, MHCM
Deborah Levine, MD
Deputy Editor
Vanessa A Barss, MD, FACOG


Morbidly adherent placenta is a general term that includes placenta accreta, increta, and percreta. The clinical features and diagnosis of the three types of morbidly adherent placenta have many similarities. Therefore, unless otherwise noted, the following discussion of placenta accreta applies to all depths of placental invasion.

This topic will discuss the clinical features and diagnosis of the morbidly adherent placenta. Management of patients with a morbidly adherent placenta is reviewed separately. (See "Management of the morbidly adherent placenta (placenta accreta, increta, and percreta)".)


Placenta accreta refers to an abnormality of placental implantation in which the anchoring placental villi attach to myometrium rather than decidua, resulting in a morbidly adherent placenta.

Placenta increta (chorionic villi penetrate into the myometrium) and placenta percreta (chorionic villi penetrate through the myometrium to the uterine serosa or adjacent organs) are related, but more severe, abnormalities of placental implantation. The pathogenesis is primarily attributed to defective decidualization of the implantation site [1].


Placenta accreta is much more common than placenta increta and percreta. In a pooled analysis of results from two series involving a total of 138 histologically confirmed, abnormally implanted placentas from hysterectomy specimens, the type and frequency of abnormal placentation were [2,3]:

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Jun 28, 2017.
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