An Overview of Blocked Fallopian Tubes
- Posted on: Oct 2 2014
A blockage of a fallopian tube can prevent an egg from reaching the sperm, and a fertilized egg may not reach the uterus due to a blockage. Many times, people will seek surgery for this infertility issue if the location of the blockage in fallopian tube is not operable. There are now microsurgical techniques used for some tubal procedures. Some women will have the laparoscopy procedure, which is done by cutting a very small incision, but some will want the open abdominal surgery. Additionally, the surgeon doing these procedures has had special training in microsurgical techniques and laparoscopy.
Fallopian tube obstruction is the cause of infertility for around 12 to 30 percent of couples. Patent (open) fallopian tubes are necessary for female fertility. As well as patency, normal function is vital. When these tubes are blocked, they do not permit sperm to travel to the ovary, and also, they cannot transport the fertilized egg for transportation into the uterus. When the egg is fertilized, and after the first stages of embryo development, this embryo has a four day journey to the uterus. During these four days, the fallopian tubes provide nutrition and protection, so they must be fully functioning for this process.
Anovulation and Irregular Periods
There is a condition known as anovulation, which means that a person is not ovulating. An indication of such condition would be abnormal bleeding, irregular periods, or no periods at all. This type of ovulation causes around 40 percent of all infertility cases. Being tested for thyroid conditions or abnormalities of the adrenal or pituitary glands is important before being treated with fertility drugs for anovulation. These diagnostic tests are done in order to rule out a pre-existing condition.
- Salpingectomy – This procedure is removal of part of the fallopian tube. When a tube has a buildup of fluid (hydrosalpinx), a salpingectomy will improve in vitro fertilization (IVF) hopefully with success. Salpingectomy is preferred over salpingostomy for treating a hydrosalpinx before IVF. The procedure has only a 50 percent chance of working with the fluid buildup.
- Tubal Reanastomosis – This procedure is used to repair a part of a damaged fallopian tube, which is altered by disease, or it is used to reverse a tubal ligation. When used to repair a damaged tube, the physician will remove part of the tube and join two healthy ends together. A laparotomy (an abdominal incision) is usually the practice, but laparoscopies are also performed by specialists during this procedure.
- Fimbrioplasty – This procedure helps to rebuild ends of the fallopian tube. The problem occurs when part of the tube which is near the ovary is blocked, or partially blocked, which prevents normal egg delivery. This can also be caused by scar tissue.
- Selective Tubal Cannulation – This is a nonsurgical procedure which is usually the first technique performed when a tubal blockage is next to the uterus. A doctor can use fluorscopy or hysteroscopy to guide the catheter through the cervix and the uterus, then on into the fallopian tube.
- Salpingostomy – This procedure is done when fluid build-up (hydrosalpinx) blocks the end of a fallopian tube. It creates another opening close to the ovary in a part of a tube. However, scar tissue develops after this procedure, which will result in reblocking the tube.
After Surgery Expectations
With laparoscopic surgery, a woman is expected to stay a brief time at the hospital, then, she may return to daily activities after a week or two, depending on job and procedure done. With abdominal surgery there is a few day stay at the hospital with antibiotics usually given to prevent infection. The woman may return to work within six weeks, depending on the surgery, job, and procedure given.
Reasons for Fallopian Tube Surgery
- For tubal ligation reversal to become pregnant.
- Blocked fallopian tubes were found during a hysterosalpingography.
- A blocked fallopian tube due to fluid buildup or hydrosalpinx.
Risks of Fallopian Tube Surgery
- Tubal pregnancy (ectopic pregnancy) is increased after surgery
- Infection of the pelvis
- Scar tissue
When having the tubal ligation reversal, and you don’t become pregnant by 18 months after the surgery, the Denver reproductive endocrinologist may do a laparoscopy and check the fallopian tubes. In vitro fertilization may be suggested, as well as other fertility methods.
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