Has your doctor recommended a salpingectomy procedure (removal of the fallopian tubes)?
There might be several reasons for this, such as a preventative measure against cancer or as a contraceptive. 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 the complete surgical removal of 1 or both fallopian tubes. Fallopian tubes are an integral part of the female reproductive system and serve to carry eggs from the ovaries to the uterus where they then have the potential to become fertilized.
There are many reasons why a doctor may recommend the removal of your fallopian tubes. These include preventative reasons such as contraception and cancer prevention as well as treatment for certain types of cancer or in the event of an ectopic pregnancy.
Removal of both fallopian tubes removes the eggs’ means of travel, preventing the eggs from moving 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 the fallopian tube, removal of that tube may be necessary to prevent rupture and life-threatening bleeding.
It is thought that ovarian cancer may be generated with cancer cells that develop in the fallopian tubes and then travel to the ovaries. Due to this theory, some doctors may 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 one 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. There may be other gynecological conditions or health considerations that may cause your physician to recommend the removal of one or both fallopian tubes.
Your surgeon may perform your salpingectomy using the laparotomy or laparoscopy method. In a laparotomy surgery, your surgeon makes a large open incision into your abdomen. In laparoscopy, your surgeon uses instruments inserted into small incisions in your lower abdomen. This method involves a somewhat shorter recovery time and is less invasive than the laparotomy method so it is the preferred approach.
Using 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 as well as for contraception. This may also be part of a broader, more involved surgery like hysterectomy where other reproductive organs are removed as well.
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 abnormal bleeding, infection and blood clots. 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.
Be sure to speak with an experienced, trusted OB/GYN to find 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 and set up a time to meet with a highly trained and specialized physician in obstetrical and gynecological needs.