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WHAT ARE FALLOPIAN TUBES?
The uterine tube (Fallopian tube) carries an egg from the ovary to the uterus. Unless an abnormality, surgery, or ectopic pregnancy caused the loss of one tube, women should have two uterine tubes. They are named after their discoverer, Gabriele Falloppio, an Italian anatomist.
The Fallopian tubes are generally where an egg is fertilized by sperm, and have small hair-like projections called cilia on the cells of the lining. These tubal cilia are essential to the movement of the egg and sperm through the tube into the uterus where implantation and development occur.
COMMON ISSUES AND CONCERNS
Infection can also cause partial or complete blockage of the tube with scar tissue, physically preventing the egg from getting to the uterus.
Any issues including infection, endometriosis, tumors, or scar tissue in the pelvis (pelvic adhesions) that damages the Fallopian tube or narrows its diameter increases the chance of an ectopic, or tubal, pregnancy: a pregnancy developing in the Fallopian tube or another abnormal location outside the uterus.
Women who no longer want children can have their “tubes tied,” or other minor procedures, to prevent eggs from moving from the Fallopian tubes into the uterus.
ADVANCED TUBAL SURGICAL PROCEDURES
STERILIZATION AND TUBAL LIGATION
For women who no longer want children, sterilization by laparoscopy provides a safe and convenient form of contraception. Once completed, no further steps are needed to prevent pregnancy. During a tubal sterilization, the Fallopian tubes are cut or blocked, which prevents pregnancy by blocking the egg’s path to the sperm and uterus. This procedure is also called “tube tying.” Tubal ligation does not change a woman’s menstrual cycle or cause menopause.
WHY CHOOSE LAPAROSCOPY?
Laparoscopy makes it possible to see and do the surgery through small incisions in the abdomen in which the surgeon inserts a laparoscope. The laparoscope has a lens that magnifies what the surgeon is viewing. The instrument that the surgeon uses to cut (ligate) the tubes may be inserted alongside the laparoscope or through the incision just above the pubic hair.
WHAT IS A LAPAROSCOPE
A laparoscope is a thin rod inserted into the abdomen through a tiny incision (typically 3mm — 15mm) which has a camera, light, and tools at its tip. Our providers are trained to use the thinnest laparoscopes necessary for each procedure to minimize scarring and increase recovery time. To facilitate a better view, gas is injected into the abdomen to give ample space between organs.
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SELECTIVE EXCISION OF TUBAL ENDS
This procedure is performed under general anesthesia, takes about 30 minutes to perform, and typically go home the same day. During the procedure, a small incision is made in the navel and abdomen. A laparoscope is inserted through an incision and the Fallopian tubes are cut, tied, clamped, or sealed. Studies show that many types of ovarian cancers originate in the Fallopian tubes. By closing off access to the ovaries from the tubes by selective excision, the risk is reduced. This is a permanent procedure and careful consideration is necessary before consenting to the surgery.
In this procedure, a small incision is made in the abdomen, near or in the navel. A laparoscope is then used to view the area. Other instruments can be inserted into the tube or through other small incisions to remove the ectopic tissue and repair the Fallopian tube.
If the ectopic pregnancy is causing heavy bleeding or the Fallopian tube has ruptured, emergency surgery may be necessary and is performed through an abdominal incision (laparotomy). In some cases, the Fallopian tube can be repaired. Our team of highly-skilled surgeons will do their best to preserve the Fallopian tubes for future pregnancies.