Although technically it is possible to transplant a fallopian tube, practically a successful fallopian transplant has not been performed yet. Several animal experiments and studies in both animals and humans have shown that fallopian tube transplants fail due to the attack on the transplanted tubes by the immune system of the recipient (immune rejection). Many surgeries, however, are presently being done for the reconstruction of damaged, blocked, or dysfunctional fallopian tubes, such as fallopian tube recanalization, salpingostomy, and fimbrioplasty.
What are the various fallopian tube reconstruction procedures?
Fallopian tubes are important parts of the female reproductive system. Normally, one ovary and one fallopian tube are present on each side of the uterus. A fallopian tube is a long, slender tube that connects the ovaries to the uterus. The fallopian tubes are involved in providing a passage to the eggs (ova) from the ovaries to the uterus. The process of fusion of the egg with the sperm (fertilization) also occurs inside the fallopian tubes. Thus, a blocked or damaged fallopian tube may prevent a woman from getting pregnant. Thankfully, several reconstructive procedures are available for surgically repairing a damaged or dysfunctional fallopian tube. Some of these procedures can be done using microsurgical techniques. They may be done either during open abdominal surgery or through a small incision via a laparoscope (a thin, flexible tube-like instrument with a camera and light source at one end). Some of the common fallopian tube reconstructive procedures include
- Tubal reanastomosis: The procedure involves removal of the blocked or diseased portion of the fallopian tube followed by joining or anastomosis of the healthy ends. This procedure typically is used to reverse a surgical female sterilization procedure (tubal ligation). Tubal reanastomosis may also be done for repairing a damaged portion of the fallopian tubes. Tubal reanastomosis can be done during open abdominal surgery (laparotomy) or through a small incision via a laparoscope.
- Salpingostomy or neosalpingostomy: It is a surgical procedure in which the doctor creates an opening in a fallopian tube. The surgical opening is made in the part of the fallopian tube near the ovary. It may be done for the treatment of hydrosalpinx (a condition in which the fallopian tube gets blocked and swollen due to the buildup of watery fluid). The procedure carries a risk of infections and scarring. Because of the risk of scarring, the fallopian tube may get blocked again.
- Salpingectomy: Salpingectomy means the removal of part of a fallopian tube. The procedure is done to increase the chances of a successful in vitro fertilization or IVF (fertilization outside the woman’s body). Salpingectomy is done in cases where the tube has become swollen due to the collection of watery fluid, a condition called hydrosalpinx. This procedure is preferred over salpingostomy for the treatment of hydrosalpinx before an IVF.
- Fimbrioplasty: This is a surgical procedure in which the fringed ends of the fallopian tube or the fimbriae are reconstructed. Fimbrioplasty may be done when the part of the fallopian tube closest to the ovary (infundibulum) is partially blocked or scarred. This can prevent normal egg pickup from the ovary to the infundibulum.
What are the risks of a fallopian tube reconstruction surgery?
The risks may vary depending on several factors, such as the type of procedure and the general condition of the patient. Some of the risks of tubal reconstruction surgery are:
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