What different fallopian tube procedures are available? What are they used to treat?
There are several types of surgery to correct blockages in the
fallopian tubes. The specific type of surgery your
doctor does will depend on the location, extent, and type of blockage, and may
- Removal of the affected part of the tube,
clearing of scar tissue, or insertion of a plastic tube to open the blocked
area (cannulization) to treat a blocked or diseased fallopian
- Removal of the diseased part of the tube (salpingectomy),
which is one treatment for a
hydrosalpinx, a fluid-blocked fallopian tube that may
drain into the uterus. This is the only procedure that tries to repair the tube
itself. Other procedures include removal of the fluid (needle aspiration),
surgically creating a drainage hole in the tube (salpingostomy), or surgically
blocking the tube's opening to the uterus.
- Tubal reanastomosis, which is used to rejoin a fallopian tube
previously cut in a
Fallopian tube procedures for infertility are usually
laparoscopically through a small incision.
What are the risks of fallopian tube surgery?
Fallopian tube surgery may or may not result in a successful
pregnancy. About 7% to 9% of women who conceive after fallopian tube surgery
ectopic (tubal) pregnancy, which can become
life-threatening. This is caused by preexisting tubal damage rather than the
For women 35 or older, perhaps the greatest risk of tubal surgery
is the time it takes to perform and heal, and then try to conceive naturally.
If you are over age 34 and are interested in trying tubal surgery only, the
sooner you begin, the better. If you are considering in vitro fertilization
(IVF) with your own eggs, consider skipping tubal repair and starting IVF as
soon as possible.
What is in vitro fertilization?
In vitro fertilization (IVF) is the combining of a
woman's eggs and a man's sperm in a laboratory. The resulting embryo or embryos
are then transferred into the uterus. Your doctor can use your eggs and sperm
for IVF or donor eggs or sperm if necessary.
Most women begin the IVF process by having daily hormone
injections to stimulate multiple egg growth (superovulation). Multiple eggs are then harvested,
either through a needle guided by
laparoscopically. The best-quality eggs are
fertilized, and the best resulting
embryos are implanted in the uterus. Another series of
hormone injections is then used to help your newly pregnant body support the
first days of implantation and embryo growth.
Some women choose not to use superovulation, instead using their
own naturally occurring egg(s).
What is in vitro fertilization used to treat?
In vitro fertilization (IVF) was originally developed to start
pregnancy in women with no fallopian tubes. This assisted reproductive
technology is now also used to treat couples whose infertility is caused
- Blocked or diseased fallopian tubes.
tubal ligation, or an unsuccessful tubal ligation
- Low sperm counts.
infertility that has continued for a long time.
What are the risks of in vitro fertilization?
An in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle of treatment is emotionally
and physically demanding. Multiple procedures are required to stimulate and
harvest eggs, and then to implant embryos. IVF increases the risks of:
- Multiple pregnancy. Approximately 35% of
births in the United States that result from assisted reproductive technologies
such as IVF produce 2 or more children.2Multiple pregnancies are high-risk for both mother and
ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, which can be
life-threatening. This condition develops in up to 2% of all IVF
cycles.1 Your doctor can minimize this risk by closely
monitoring your ovaries and hormone levels during superovulation.
If you choose IVF, talk to your doctor about how to reduce your
risk of multiple pregnancy.
If you need more information about infertility treatments, see the