Has your doctor recommended a salpingectomy procedure (fallopian tube removal)?
There might be several reasons for this, such as cancer prevention or contraception. However, you might be concerned when you hear the word “surgery.”
If you’re considering this surgery and have questions, please reach out to the helpful and compassionate staff at All About Women. We’re here to calm your nerves and provide answers to ease your mind.
Here’s everything you need to know about this procedure so that you can go into the surgery with full confidence and trust in your doctor.
A salpingectomy is a fallopian tube removal surgery that involves 1 or both fallopian tubes. Fallopian tubes are an integral part of the female reproductive system that carry eggs from the ovaries to the uterus, where they then have the potential to become fertilized.
A tubal ligation, also known as having your tubes tied, disrupts the fallopian tubes to help prevent pregnancy. The procedure typically includes putting bands on the tubes or cauterizing them to prevent an egg from being able to pass through and lead to pregnancy.
In both a bilateral salpingectomy and a tubal ligation, the end result is that you won’t be able to get pregnant without in vitro fertilization (IVF). Although in some rare cases (about 1 in 200), women who have a tubal ligation still manage to get pregnant after the procedure.
A salpingectomy and hysterectomy are both surgical procedures that can be used to treat gynecological cancer. However, a salpingectomy is a surgical procedure that removes one or both fallopian tubes, and a hysterectomy is a surgical procedure that removes the uterus but leaves the fallopian tubes.
There are many reasons why a doctor might recommend the removal of your fallopian tubes, which we’ll discuss below.
Removal of both fallopian tubes prevents the eggs from traveling to the uterus and becoming fertilized. Once the fallopian tubes are removed, they can’t be replaced. Therefore, this is a permanent form of contraception that can’t be reversed.
Serious consideration about your future reproductive health should be given before opting for this method. Make sure you’re on the same page as your spouse or partner before undergoing this irreversible procedure.
In an ectopic pregnancy, the fertilized egg travels to and implants into a location other than the uterus. This condition is often a medical emergency. When the egg implants in a fallopian tube, removal of that tube may be necessary to prevent rupture and life-threatening bleeding.
It’s thought that ovarian cancer may be generated by cancer cells that develop in the fallopian tubes and then travel to the ovaries. Due to this theory, some doctors might recommend the removal of both fallopian tubes to reduce your risk if your chance of developing ovarian cancer is extremely high.
Other types of cancer may be treated by removing 1 or both of the fallopian tubes, sometimes along with other reproductive organs, to remove all cancerous and concerning cells from your body.
Infection and endometriosis are a couple of other conditions that may call for a salpingectomy. Your doctor will advise you on the best course of action based on your individual circumstances.
Depending on the type of salpingectomy you have, you may still be able to get pregnant. If only one fallopian tube is removed, known as a unilateral salpingectomy, you should still be able to get pregnant as long as your other fallopian tube is healthy.
If both fallopian tubes are removed, known as a bilateral salpingectomy, you won’t be unable to get pregnant naturally. However, many women who want to get pregnant after a bilateral salpingectomy opt for IVF, after which they can generally carry their babies successfully to term.
Your surgeon may perform your salpingectomy using the laparotomy or laparoscopy method:
With either method, you will receive anesthesia and will not be awake during the procedure.
There are 2 main types of salpingectomy.
A partial salpingectomy is the removal of only 1 fallopian tube. This may be warranted in certain cases where there is a specific concern or risk that involves only a single tube, such as an ectopic pregnancy or growth in only 1 fallopian tube.
A bilateral salpingectomy involves the removal of both fallopian tubes and is most likely to be used for the prevention of cancer or for contraception. This may also be part of a broader, more involved surgery like a hysterectomy, where other reproductive organs are removed as well.
You’ll want to do several things to prepare for your salpingectomy surgery to ensure everything runs smoothly, including:
As with any medical procedure, there is a risk of complications during and after your surgery. General risks and salpingectomy side effects are similar to many other surgical procedures and include the following:
Another risk is injury to nearby organs such as the ovaries, uterus, bladder or intestines. Adverse reactions to anesthesia are also possible both during and after surgery.
Additionally, blood flow to 1 or both ovaries (depending on whether 1 or both tubes are removed) can be diminished. This obstruction may prevent the ovaries from adequately delivering the hormones they produce, which can lead to early-onset menopause.
Immediately after your salpingectomy, you will be monitored by medical staff as the anesthesia wears off and you begin to wake. Typically, a patient may leave the hospital the same day the surgery is performed, barring any complications.
Once home, you will need to take it easy and get plenty of rest. Your doctor will prescribe you medication to keep the pain to a minimum. Be sure to follow your physician’s orders as far as when to resume normal activities and how to care for your incisions. Your recovery will depend on which procedure was performed and how quickly your body heals.
The recovery time after a salpingectomy is generally 1 week. However, it could take up to 2 weeks for you to resume your regular routine and activities.
While you’re recovering from a salpingectomy procedure, you’ll want to watch for the following symptoms and notify your doctor if you’re experiencing them:
The cost of a salpingectomy starts at a minimum of $3,000 and can cost as much as $13,000. The total cost of this surgery depends on factors such as the location of doctors, clinics and hospitals, as well as your insurance.
Be sure to speak with an experienced, trusted OB-GYN to get all the answers to your salpingectomy questions, including if the procedure is right for you and which method is best suited for your situation. In North Florida, make a call to All About Women Obstetrics and Gynecology, and set up a time to meet with a highly trained and specialized physician in obstetrical and gynecological care.