Tubal Recanalization

The procedure is performed under sterile conditions to avoid the possibility of infection.

Tubal Recanalization

Tubal recanalisation, or fallopian tube recanalization (FTR) is a nonsurgical procedure to clear blockages in the fallopian tubes of the reproductive system of women. Recanalization is the medical term for "reopening" Blockage of the fallopian tubes is a common cause of female infertility. This occurs usually as the result of debris that has built up in the tubes. Occasionally, scarring from surgery or serious infection can also lead to blockages.

How is it done?

FTR is normally performed on the 8th, 9th or 10th day of a woman's menstrual cycle. This is done in order to enable pregnancy to take place in the first cycle following recanalization. Before the procedure takes place, short-acting medications will be given for relaxation and pain relief. The procedure does not require any needles or incisions, and involves the following steps

  • A speculum is placed into the vagina and a small catheter is passed through the cervix into the uterus.
  • A liquid contrast agent (sometimes called a dye, although nothing is stained) is injected through the catheter.
  • The uterine cavity is examined on a nearby monitor using an X-ray camera.
  • A hystero-salpingogram or HSG, which refers to a "uterus-and-fallopian-tube-picture" is obtained.
  • It is determined from the HSG if there is a blockage and whether it is located on one or both fallopian tubes.
  • A smaller catheter is threaded through the first catheter and then into the fallopian tube so as to clear the blockage.

The overall time to do the procedure is about a half an hour. There are some side effects from the FTR process. Most women will have a little spotting for a day or two afterward, but there should be no lingering pain or other unpleasant sensation. If there is any pain, cramping, fever, or vaginal discharge, the gynaecologist should be contacted immediately.

What are the benefits of FTR?

  • Minimally invasive outpatient procedure with no incision needed
  • There is an increased chance of pregnancy if this is the sole cause of infertility
  • Short procedure with no overnight stay
  • Does not cause scarring or pain
  • Reduced risk of infection as compared to surgery

Chances for a successful FTR and successive pregnancy are lower when severe scarring is present from prior surgery or bad infections such as PID (pelvic inflammatory disease). It is also important to note that although FTR unclogs the tubes, it does not reverse the process at work that caused them to become blocked in the first place. For that reason, about a third of the patients undergoing the procedure will occlude their tubes in about 6 months. Nevertheless, tubal recanalisation is advantageous for pregnancy and in order to have children.