Healthy fallopian tubes are responsible for carrying the egg towards the uterus and is the site of fertilisation of the egg by sperm. Open tubes are essential for natural conception. Sometimes the tubes can become blocked meaning the sperm and eggs cannot meet, preventing fertilisation and pregnancy. There are many reasons why a tube might be blocked, including previous infection, surgery, sterilisation or conditions such as endometriosis. Blockages can occur at any point along the length of the tube. Depending on where the blockage is, different types of surgery are needed including fallopian tube re-implantation. Blockages are generally classified as either being at either end or in the middle.
- Distal tubal blockages (a blockage at the ‘fimbrial end’ where the tube meets the ovary) can be treated with surgery to open the tube and remove scar tissue, in a procedure called a salpingostomy.
- Mid tubal blockages (often caused by sterilisation) can often be treated with a reversal of sterilisation procedure.
- Proximal tubal blockages (when the blockage is at the point the tube meets the uterus e.g. caused by Essure sterilisation, pelvic infection or endometriosis) can often be treated with hysteroscopic tubal cannulation or fallopian tube re-implantation.
Fallopian tube re-implantation (or re-anastomosis) is a surgical procedure that aims to restore the function of the fallopian tubes by by-passing the blockage where the tube meets the uterus.
Fallopian tube re-implantation is a technically complex and delicate procedure requiring a skilled surgeon and a well-equipped theatre. During the procedure, the surgeon will pass a camera into the womb cavity (called a hysteroscopy) and make a small incision along the lower part of the abdomen (similar to, but shorter than a C-Section scar) in order to re-attach the fallopian tubes to the uterus and bypass the blockage. The surgery is performed under general anaesthesia (asleep) and can take several hours to complete.
Recovery after fallopian tube re-implantation varies but is generally less than 6-8 weeks. Pain and discomfort are common in the initial few days following surgery but are easily managed with pain relief. Most women can return to their normal activities within a few weeks, but it is advisable to avoid strenuous exercise and sexual intercourse for 2 to 3 weeks after the surgery.
The success rate of fallopian tube reconstruction depends on the reason for the surgery, the woman’s age, underlying health of the tubes and fertility history. Success rates are usually quoted to be around 35-40%, which means that almost half of women who have the surgery will regain their fertility. In comparison, the average success rate for one IVF cycle is around 30%.
Fallopian tube re-implantation may not be suitable for all women and as such it is important to discuss your individual case and the risks/ benefits of the procedure with a doctor specialised in fertility and tubal surgery.
If you are having difficulty conceiving and want to speak to a qualified fertility sub-specialist, contact Mr Dobson’s P.A, Mandy Banbury, at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0115 9662111 to arrange an appointment.