The Zavanelli Maneuver - Back to the Womb
R. Geist, Y. Yekel, B. Abramov, S. Grisaru, A. Samueloff
Obstetrics and Gynecology Dept., Shaare Zedek Medical Center, Jerusalem
The Zavanelli maneuver is the manual replacement of a partially-born fetus due to severe shoulder dystocia. It is described in obstetrical textbooks as being among the last to be tried in a series of maneuvers to rescue the fetus with severe shoulder dystocia, as it is considered a very difficult and heroic maneuver. Few obstetricians have seen it and fewer have done it themselves. It is even more rare when a single obstetrician has done the Zavanelli maneuver repeatedly. Therefore, both experienced obstetricians and certainly young residents are fearful when they have to use this maneuver and can lose control in cases of shoulder dystocia.
We have found descriptions of 93 cases of use of the Zavanelli maneuver in vertex presentations. We also describe a recent case in our experience. We conclude that this maneuver is safe and not too difficult to perform even without previous experience. Fetal and maternal complications are few, but there is of course a bias against reporting bad results.
We recommend that every obstetrician become familiar with this maneuver so as to feel sure that it is safe for him to use in severe cases of shoulder dystocia.