Surgery for Unblocking Fallopian Tubes
Thanks to advances in modern medical science, it is now possible to repair damage and unblock the delicate fallopian tubes, which are as thin as the lead of a pencil, and critical in achieving a pregnancy.
If you are looking into surgery as a treatment option for unblocking your fallopian tubes to achieve a pregnancy, you will be pleased to hear that these days there is also an alternative to “open surgery”: minimally invasive surgery or laparoscopy.
In addition, you will also be glad to hear that should surgery not be the right solution in your particular situation, there is another treatment option that will provide the opportunity to achieve a pregnancy by bypassing the fallopian tubes through in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment.
Fallopian Tube Surgery – The Process
An accurate, expert diagnosis is critical to ensure the most effective and cost-effective blocked fallopian tube treatment.
At Medfem Fertility Clinic, you and your partner’s first consultation with one of our highly qualified and experienced fertility specialists will entail a review of your medical history and previous tests, a comprehensive infertility work up including a physical exam, and in-depth explanations and answers to all your questions.
During this first appointment of 30 minutes to an hour, your fertility specialist will also order additional investigations and tests if required.
A pelvic x-ray called a hysterosalpingogram (HSG) is required to determine if your fallopian tubes are blocked or damaged – and to what extent. A qualified fertility specialist will inject a safe dye into your uterine cavity while simultaneously taking an x-ray of your uterus and tubes. This allows the specialist to see the position of any damage or blockage, and identify the extent thereof.
The position and severity of the damage or blockage will determine whether fallopian tube surgery can be successfully performed and if it is the right treatment for you.
Fallopian Tube Surgery
Depending on the position of the damage or blockage – and the severity of the damage – it may be possible to repair a fallopian tube with what is called tubal surgery.
Fortunately, there is a modern alternative to “open surgery”: minimally invasive surgery or laparoscopy.
Minimally invasive surgery or laparoscopy involves looking directly into your abdomen and pelvis using a small camera that is placed through an incision in your umbilicus. This allows a specialist to treat blockages or damage.
During the surgery you will be asleep under general anaesthetic and will not feel any pain.
First, an incision is made – usually next to the navel – and a laparoscope is inserted into the abdominal cavity. A safe gas, either carbon dioxide or nitrous oxide, is then passed into the cavity to separate the abdominal wall from the underlying organs. This makes the surgery easier. One to three more incisions may be made to allow access for other surgical instruments, for example, a laser.
Once the surgery is completed, the laparoscope and other instruments are taken out, the gas is allowed to escape and the incisions are stitched up. The stitches may dissolve by themselves or may need to be removed at a later stage.
In most cases, women go home on the same day. Most women experience bloating, abdominal discomfort and/or back and shoulder tip pain for 24-48 hours after surgery, which is related to the gas used during the surgery. This pain should not be severe and should gradually improve over 24-48 hours. Other effects many include abdominal bloating, nausea, abdominal cramps, or constipation. Most women are able to resume normal activities within a few days to one week.
Where to get surgery for blocked fallopian tubes
It is absolutely essential that only a competent qualified fertility specialist at a registered medical facility perform this advanced surgery.
Medfem Fertility Clinic offers both advanced microsurgical treatments as well as in vitro fertilisation as therapy for tubal factor infertility.
Our Medfem Fertility Clinic’s specialists are experts and leaders in minimally invasive surgery. It is one of the first institutions in South Africa to have developed a fully comprehensive operating theatre with all the necessary equipment to perform minimally invasive surgery. The specialists at Medfem Fertility Clinic have all undergone extensive training abroad and teach endoscopic surgery on an ongoing basis to visiting gynaecologists.
In addition, at Medfem Fertility Clinic, our highly qualified fertility specialists have over 100 years of collective experience and are nationally and internationally recognised as pioneers and innovators in the field of fertility treatment. They are supported by extensively experienced embryologists; trained, qualified theatre staff, nurse practitioners and clinical psychologists; as well as specialist pharmacists and friendly administration staff, ensuring you receive the best care possible.
Medfem Fertility Clinic is also registered with the Southern African Society for Reproductive Medicine and Gynaecological Endoscopy (SASREG), belong to the African Network and Registry for Assisted Reproductive Technology and are recognised internationally by the International Committee Monitoring Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ICMART).
In addition, the facilities at Medfem Fertility Clinic are world-class. Our purpose-built medical and surgical facility is located close to Sandton MediClinic, and – for your convenience – offers consultation offices, exam rooms, laboratory facilities, a surgical suite and a dedicated fertility pharmacy in the same location.
An Alternative to Blocked Fallopian Tube Surgery
If fallopian tube surgery is not feasible because of extensive damage to your Fallopian tubes, there is another option to achieve pregnancy even with blocked fallopian tubes: In Vitro-Fertilisation (IVF).
Essentially, IVF treatment allows women to bypass the critical role of the fallopian tubes in achieving pregnancy. In the simplest terms, IVF treatment is a process of assisted reproduction where the egg and sperm are fertilised outside of the body to form an embryo, which is then transferred to the uterus to hopefully implant and become a pregnancy, circumventing the fallopian tubes in the process.
In vitro fertilisation treatment was originally developed for women with damaged or missing fallopian tubes almost 40 years ago, in 1983. Since then more than 5 million babies have been born worldwide as a result of IVF treatment, with success rates comparable – and even superior – to those of nature.
IVF treatment is, however, not a single event, but rather a series of procedures that are completed over five stages to complete a treatment cycle.
In short, IVF treatments commence with a course of hormone therapy to stimulate the development of several follicles in the ovary. Under ultrasound guidance, these are then punctured with a specialised needle to retrieve eggs, which are then fertilised in a petri dish (‘in vitro’ which literally means ‘in glass’) to create several embryos. After three to five days in an incubator, one or two of these embryos are transferred through the vagina to the uterus, where implantation occurs and pregnancy begins. The whole process from commencement of ovarian stimulation up to the embryo transfer stage usually takes just under three weeks.
Your Next Step
The next step is simply to set up your initial consultation – you can click here or contact us telephonically on +27 (11) 463 2244.
We look forward to meeting you!