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Infertility Surgeries for Women

Depending on the cause of your infertility, surgery may be necessary to help you conceive. In most cases, major abdominal surgery has been replaced with less-invasive laparoscopic or hysteroscopic procedures to diagnose causes of infertility and correct or bypass anatomical problems. The following are some of the most common surgeries performed on women who are trying to conceive.

Hysteroscopy - During this procedure, your doctor inserts a telescope-like device through your cervix to examine your uterus for scar tissue, polyps, or fibroids. If any problems are found, your doctor may be able to correct them during the procedure.

Diagnostic laparoscopy - Laparoscopy requires only one or two small incisions near your navel and at the pubic hair line through which your doctor inserts a laparoscope to examine your abdomen, the outside of your uterus, your fallopian tubes, and bladder. This is often used to diagnose and/or treat uterine fibroids, endometriosis, ovarian cysts, and other fertility problems.

Laparotomy - Laparotomy requires a larger incision in the abdomen and is used for open exploration of the abdomen and pelvis and the most extensive surgical procedures, such as fallopian tube reconstruction, myomectomy, treatment of endometriosis, treatment of ovarian cysts, and repair or removal of hydrosalpinx. Tubal reversal - If you've previously had a tubal ligation and now would like to have children, it can be reversed with surgery. Your doctor will use laparoscopy or laparotomy to remove scar tissue and reconnect your fallopian tubes.

ART (GIFT and ZIFT) - Certain assisted reproductive technology (ART) procedures involve surgery, such as gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT) and zygote intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT). In these procedures, your doctor may use laparoscopy to place embryos (such as in ZIFT) or a mixture of sperm and egg (in GIFT) in your fallopian tubes.

Reconstructive pelvic surgery - If you were born with an improperly developed uterus, surgery may be used to correct the problem. For instance, if you were born with nonsymmetrical development of the uterus (when the two sides of the uterus don't fuse together completely, or fuse together improperly resulting in a closed-off portion called a blind horn), your doctor may use laparoscopy or hysteroscopy to repair the problem. In other instances, when a dense layer of tissue develops and effectively divides the uterus into two separate halves, hysteroscopy may be used to remove the extraneous tissue.

Laparoscopic ovarian drilling - This may be used to stimulate ovulation in women with polycystic ovary syndrome when weight loss and medication have not helped. Electrocautery or a laser is used to destroy parts of the ovaries, a practice that has been reported to restore regular ovulation cycles.

If you are faced with surgical infertility treatment, talk to your doctor about the procedure and address any questions or concerns you have. Find out how many times the surgeon has performed the particular procedure, your chances of success, any risks or possible complications, and how long your recovery time will be.

 


 

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