What is a salpingectomy?
Salpingectomy is the surgical removal of one or both of a woman's fallopian tubes. The fallopian tubes allow an egg from the ovaries to travel to the uterus. The tubes may be removed to treat problems related to them, including cancer.
Why is the procedure performed?
A salpingectomy is performed for several different conditions, including:
- Fallopian tube cancer, ovarian cancer and other cancers of the reproductive organs. In these cancers, the reproductive organs such as the fallopian tubes, uterus, ovaries and cervix, as well as nearby lymph nodes, are removed.
- Ectopic pregnancy, when a fertilised egg implants itself outside of the womb, usually in one of the fallopian tubes. Salpingectomy may be performed to remove the ectopic pregnancy.
- Endometriosis, a condition where the tissue lining of the uterus grows outside of the uterus. In severe cases and if other treatments have not worked, the uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes may need to be removed.
- Blocked fallopian tubes. Fallopian tubes that are blocked with a fluid build-up can cause fertility problems. Salpingectomy may be performed as part of fertility treatment.
- An infected fallopian tube.
Salpingectomy may also be performed as a form of permanent contraception or to reduce the risk of ovarian cancer in women who have surgery for non-cancerous conditions.
How to prepare for the procedure
If you are having a salpingectomy, before the surgery you will probably meet with the surgeon and anaesthetist to discuss the operation. You will likely need to avoid drinking and eating for some hours before the surgery. Your doctor can advise you.
You may also want to talk to your doctor about being able to become pregnant in the future and what your options are.
What happens during the procedure?
A salpingectomy may be performed under general anaesthetic so that you are asleep during surgery. The surgeon will make a cut in the abdomen to remove the fallopian tubes.
If only the fallopian tubes are to be removed, the surgery may be performed using keyhole surgery (laparoscopy). The surgeon will insert an instrument known as a laparoscope into your abdomen through a small cut near your navel.
What to expect after the procedure
It may be necessary to stay in hospital for a few days to recover from a laparotomy. Recovery is usually quicker with keyhole surgery.
What can go wrong?
The risks of a laparotomy include:
- damage to nearby organs
Keyhole surgery usually involves less risk of complications occurring than laparotomy.
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Last reviewed: April 2021