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Tubal surgery vs in vitro fertilization for the treatment of infertility due to distal tubal occlusion

Tubal surgery vs in vitro fertilization for the treatment of infertility due to distal tubal occlusion

Primary Care Update for Ob/Gyns 5(4): 168

Background: The optimal treatment of infertility due to tubal occlusion has not been established. Many practitioners feel that the success of tubal repair exceeds that of in vitro fertilization (IVF); however, previous studies of pregnancy after tubal surgery have been limited by bias in patient selection, follow-up, or surgical expertise. The purpose of the present study was to determine the outcome after repair of distal tubal occlusion performed by experienced surgeons in an unselected patient population with consistent follow-up.Design: Chart review with telephone contact of patients lost to follow-up.Methods: The records of all tubal surgery performed between 1989 and 1996 at the University of Alabama Hospital and The Kirklin Clinic outpatient surgery facility were reviewed. All women with infertility due to distal tubal occlusion, with or without pelvic adhesions, who had no other significant infertility factors were included for study. Details of the infertility history, operative procedure, and postoperative course were recorded. Patients lost to follow-up within 1 year after surgery were contacted by telephone for information regarding subsequent testing and treatment and pregnancy outcome.Results: Eighty-three women aged 19-39 years met the entry criteria for this study. Follow-up of at least 1 year was obtained in all but 11 patients. Tubal surgery was accomplished by laparotomy in 19 women; 64 women underwent tubal repair by laparoscopy. Within 1 year of surgery, 9 hysterosalpingograms, 51 clomiphene cycles, and 20 gonadotropin cycles were performed on the study group. Pregnancy was achieved within 1 year in 13 women; of these, there were 6 live births (9.6% birth rate per surgery), 2 spontaneous abortions, and 3 ectopic pregnancies. There were no live births among women who underwent tubal repair by laparotomy. None of the postoperative gonadotropin cycles resulted in pregnancy. Seven women underwent IVF within 1 year after surgery because of extensive tubal damage noted at surgery. Based on current charges for the infertility treatments performed, the cost of a live birth with tubal surgery exceeded $120,000, versus less than $50,000 per live birth with IVF using results obtained nationally or at UAB.Conclusions: The cost-effectiveness of reconstructive surgery in unselected patients with distal tubal occlusion is less than that of IVF. Empiric use of gonadotropins for ovarian stimulation does not improve pregnancy rates after tubal surgery. In our series, laparoscopic tubal repair seemed to give results superior to that of laparotomy.

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Accession: 047847044

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PMID: 10838314

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