Salpingectomy is the surgical removal of a fallopian tube.
Salpingectomy is the surgical removal of a fallopian tube.

Salpingectomy is the surgical removal of a fallopian tube. It is of two types:

  • Unilateral salpingectomy: This refers to the surgical removal of a single fallopian. Unilateral salpingectomy often does not affect your fertility if the remaining fallopian tube and its attached ovary are healthy and functioning normally. So, you may still become pregnant.
  • Bilateral salpingectomy: This refers to the surgical removal of both the fallopian tubes. After this surgery, you would not be able to conceive and become pregnant naturally. However, if your uterus is intact, you can opt for in vitro fertilization (IVF). In IVF, the process of fertilization (with your ovum and your partner’s sperm) is carried out outside the body in a controlled environment. The fertilized ovum is then implanted in your womb, where it can grow throughout the pregnancy.

What is the function of the fallopian tubes?

The fallopian tubes (also known as uterine tubes) are a total of two in number, each located on either side of the uterus. Each fallopian tube is connected to the uterus by ligaments and its other end contains finger-like projections known as fimbriae, located near the ovary.

The functions of fallopian tubes include:

  • Allowing the sperm to reach towards the ovum for fertilization
  • Helping in the transport of the fertilized egg towards the uterus

Why is a salpingectomy done?

Your doctor will recommend salpingectomy

  • If you have an ectopic pregnancy (a medical emergency in which the embryo gets implanted in the fallopian tube and not in the uterus)
  • If you have a blocked fallopian tube
  • If you have developed an infection of the fallopian tube 
  • If you have cancer of the fallopian tube
  • If you want to reduce the risk of ovarian cancer
  • If you desire permanent contraception

What is done before the salpingectomy?

The doctor will evaluate your fertility factors and discuss with you the benefits and risks of the surgery.

To check the functional status of the tube, a minor test known as hysterosalpingography (HSG) will be performed. In this test, a dye will be pushed into your cervix and its x-ray will be taken to see if it reaches the fallopian tube. A blocked or damaged fallopian tube would not be able to take up the dye.

You will be asked to discontinue any blood-thinning medications, such as Aspirin and Heparin, a few days before the surgery.

You will be admitted to the hospital a night before the surgery.

You would not be allowed to eat or drink anything after midnight except for a few sips of water before the surgery.

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How is the salpingectomy performed?

A salpingectomy can be performed as either an open (laparotomy) or laparoscopic procedure.

  • Open salpingectomy: In this surgery, the surgeon makes a large cut (incision) of about 6-12 inches on your lower abdomen. The surgeon looks for the fallopian tube and separates it from the ovary and uterus and takes it out. The surgical wound is then stitched and covered with a bandage.
  • Laparoscopic salpingectomy: This is a minimally invasive surgery in which the surgeon makes several small incisions over the lower abdomen. A long tube-like camera (laparoscope) is inserted through one of the holes or incisions to visualize the fallopian tube and its surrounding structures. Hence, this surgery is also known as keyhole surgery. Surgical instruments are then inserted through the other holes to cut and remove the fallopian tube and take it out of the body. The wound is stitched and bandaged.

Currently, laparoscopic salpingectomy is generally preferred over open salpingectomy due to

  • Lower risk of complications
  • Reduced hospital stays
  • Faster recovery

How long does it take to recover from a salpingectomy?

You will be observed for several hours after the surgery.

Your hospital stay will be for 1-2 days in case of laparoscopic surgery and 3-7 days in case of open surgery.

You will be able to carry out your normal activities like walking and light household work immediately after getting discharged from the hospital.

Strenuous activities (such as heavy workouts, jogging, and heavy lifting) need to be restricted during the recovery period of 2-6 weeks. The duration depends upon the type of surgery; it is less in the case of laparoscopic one.

Follow-up is generally not necessary. However, you need to call the doctor right away if

  • You develop fever
  • Your surgical wound becomes infected (red, warm, painful on touch, oozes fluid)
  • You feel sudden, extreme abdominal pain
  • You experience unexpected heavy vaginal bleeding

What are the risks of a salpingectomy?

Though there are a few risks of salpingectomy, their occurrence is rare in women who undergo the surgery.

The possible complications of salpingectomy are:

  • Internal bleeding
  • Bleeding from the surgical wound
  • Infection of the surgical wound
  • Damage to the surrounding structures or organs
  • Hernia (protruding of an organ from an opening in the muscle, that holds it in place)

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Medically Reviewed on 11/3/2020
References
Committee on Practice B-G. ACOG practice bulletin no. 191: Tubal ectopic pregnancy. Obstet Gynecol. 2018;131:e65-77

Salpingostomy and Salpingectomy. Available at: https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1848581-overview#showall