Tubal cannulation is a procedure to help clear a blockage in the fallopian tubes, a common cause of female infertility. As many as 1 in 4 women who have difficulty getting pregnant have a blockage in the fallopian tubes.
Tubal cannulation is less invasive than fallopian tube surgery and it may help your doctor better understand why the blockage occurred.
The doctor inserts a tube called a catheter that is guided over a wire. Ultrasound or real-time moving X-rays of the fallopian tubes may be used to guide your doctor to the correct area. The blocked area in the fallopian tube is opened up using a balloon on the catheter or with the wire.
Tubal cannulation may be done immediately after a procedure called hysterosalpingography or hysterosalpingogram. During this procedure, dye is first flushed through the catheter to identify and locate a fallopian tube blockage.
Tubal cannulation may be done with or without anesthesia. You may be given a mild sedative to calm your nerves and help you relax.
It is usually an outpatient procedure. That means a hospital stay is not needed and you will likely go home the same day.
The procedure can help your doctor more accurately diagnose and treat a fallopian tube blockage. It may help you avoid more expensive and invasive surgical procedures.
Is Tubal Cannulation Right for Me?
Tubal cannulation should only be done if an imaging test clearly shows a blockage in one or both fallopian tubes. The cannulation procedure is most successful when the blockage occurs in the part of the tube closest to the womb (uterus), called a proximal tubal obstruction. The procedure is recommended for this type of obstruction, but it also may be used for mid-tubal blockage.
If the imaging test shows a blockage, some doctors recommend that women consider tubal cannulation before having more expensive fertility procedures, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF).