There are millions of women in the USA and around the world who are unable to conceive a child because their fallopian tubes are blocked. The reason for blocked tubes can vary from one woman to another. The cause could be that they have suffered from pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). For others, it is because their fallopian tubes have become infected by some other infection that creates scarring and abscesses.
But it isn’t just infections and disease that result in blocked fallopian tubes. The cause could be intentional. A woman may have decided to undergo tubal ligation because she decided that she did not want to have children or any more children at all.
No matter what the cause of the tubes being blocked there are certain surgical procedures that can be carried out which have a high probability of correcting the problem. This is based upon the statistics from the Chapel Hill Tubal Reversal Center website. Today there are three surgical procedures that surgeons treating this infertility problem of blocked tubes will consider performing. Let’s take a brief look at each of them.
When your tubes are tied, the doctor does something to the fallopian tubes to interfere with the passage of the egg down the tubes or the sperm up them. By using rings/clips, coagulation (burning), or even just tying off and then cutting the tubes thus removing a piece, the doctor performs the tubal ligation. To repair this, a microsurgical operation called tubal reanastomosis is used to remove the devices used, if any, and any scarred part of the tubes. Then he reconnects the viable parts of the fallopian tubes to each other once more creating the passage way for the egg and sperm.
While tubal reanastomosis is usually used to reverse tubal ligation, the same general process can be used to fix tubes blocked by disease or infection. The surgeon first removes the abscesses and scarred parts and then continues with the reanastomosis portion of the surgery by connecting the good remaining portions of the fallopian tubes together.
A surgeon only chooses to carry out this operation in order to repair blocked tubes when just the part of the tube nearest the ovary remains. For some reason, the proximal or part closest to the uterus has been blocked. This could be done by the damage caused by disease or infection which needs to be removed or even during a tubal ligation. Some doctors will burn the part of the tubes nearest the uterus to be very sure the sperm can’t enter the fallopian tubes. This is also the form of reversal done when tubes have been tied using the Essure device.
The surgeon will remove the damaged portions and then create a new opening into the uterus passing through the remaining good part of the fallopian tubes so it is in the uterine cavity. So just like the name says, the tubal surgeon will implant the fallopian tube (tubo) into the uterus (uterine). This is a procedure that will generally only be carried out in those cases of blocked fallopian tubes wherein sufficient proximal tubal segment is not available and tubal reanastomosis won’t work.
This last type of surgery is used to correct a salpingectomy in which a fallopian tube or part of it nearest the ovary is removed. In many cases the tube will be removed when the woman is suffering from an ectopic pregnancy. Removing the tube also removes the fetus trying to grow outside the uterus. There is also a form of tubal ligation called fimbriectomy wherein the fimbrial ends of the fallopian tubes are removed and the remaining segment of tubes are sewn shut. Without those ends, there is nothing to catch the egg when released from the ovary and with it sewn shut, no access to the passage of the tubes to go down to get to the uterus.
To carry out salpingostomy, which is the reversal surgery where enough tube is available, the surgeon will make a small incision within the blocked tubes to create a new opening. As soon as the new opening has been made the tube end is folded back in a cuff and then stitched into position. The new hole that has been created can now take the place of the original opening in the fallopian tubes. And the eggs after release from the ovaries can move freely into the uterus. If a lucky sperm meets it in the fallopian tubes and fertilization takes place, then the lucky couple just might have a child once the fetus moves into and implants in the uterus.
Now, if you have been thinking that your only option for blocked tubes is IVF, then you should know that whichever of the above procedures that you need can be performed by Dr. Berger or Dr. Monteith for less than half the average cost of one cycle of IVF. Also, you should know that it takes about three cycles on average for a pregnancy that way. Once your surgery is done, you can try and try again to conceive to your heart’s delight. Just check out the information on reanastomosis and the other two types of surgery on the CHTRC website. Meet other women on the message board and decide if tubal surgery just might be your best alternative to the infertility problem of blocked tubes.