Tuboplasty is a surgical procedure performed to open, or reopen, the fallopian tubes to permit conception. Most tuboplasty procedures are performed with the insertion of increasing the chances of reproduction in women who may have had difficulty getting pregnant, since a blocked fallopian tube is a common cause of female infertility. Not only can a blockage be removed during a tuboplasty, but a damaged fallopian tube can be repaired. During the procedure, the surgeon may be able to remove the injured section of the fallopian tube and suture the healthy areas back together. It is often necessary to remove a blockage in one of the tubes that may occur either near where the tube meets the uterus or toward the end of the tube. Fallopian tube blockages may be caused by the formation of scar tissue, an infection, or as a result of earlier surgery.
Reasons for a Tuboplasty
The fallopian tubes can be blocked or damaged for a number of reasons. The most common cause of obstruction is pelvis inflammatory disease. Other possible reasons a tuboplasty may be necessary include:
- Postpartum infections
- Abdominal infections, such as appendicitis or peritonitis
- Adhesions (bands of scar tissue)
- Previous tubal ligation
Adhesions do not necessarily block the fallopian tube, by may distort or compress it, making it dysfunctional, and a condition that can be addressed by the tuboplasty procedure. Previous tubal ligation, performed to make a woman sterile, can sometimes be reversed by a tuboplasty. This procedure is more likely to be successful in younger woman.
The Tuboplasty Procedure
Prior to the tuboplasty, diagnostic imagining tests, such as X-rays or ultrasound, are performed to help the surgeon precisely visualize the area of blockage or damage. The tuboplasty procedure is most often performed laparoscopically, through a small incision below the belly button, using a miniature camera and tiny surgical tools. Depending on the patient’s individual situation, the tuboplasty may involve removal of scar tissue, creation of a new opening within the tube, removal of a growth or other obstruction, or a resection to eliminate a damaged area. Because the tuboplasty is typically performed laparoscopically, there is little pain or bleeding afterwards, scarring is reduced, and the recovery period is shortened.
The Risks of a Tuboplasty
A tuboplasty is a common and safe procedure but as with any surgery, there are risks. These may include excessive bleeding, adverse reaction to anesthesia, of damage to adjacent organs. Risks specific to a tuboplasty include a greater chance of an ectopic pregnancy and a relatively slight chance that the fallopian tube may become blocked again after the procedure. A tuboplasty may be a good option for women who have experienced infertility due to problems related to the fallopian tubes. For the great majority of patients, tuboplasty is a safe and effective procedure that increases the chances of natural conception.