Histopathologic Features of Postablation Tubal Sterilization Syndrome

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Abstract

Postablation tubal sterilization syndrome (PATSS) is an uncommon complication of endometrial ablation in patients with antecedent tubal ligation characterized by cyclic pelvic pain. Recurrent tubal distention resulting from retrograde menstruation into occluded proximal fallopian tube segments by residual/regenerated cornual endometrial tissue is postulated to be the cause. Reports of PATSS have largely focused on the clinicoradiologic and operative findings. Detailed descriptions of the gross pathologic findings of PATSS are sparse and rarer still are examples in which the histologic manifestations are discussed. Three patients with a history of tubal ligation and subsequent endometrial ablation who underwent hysterectomy and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy for pelvic pain were identified. A clinical suspicion of PATSS was conveyed to the pathologist at the time of initial pathologic examination in only 2 of the 3 cases. Pathologic findings in all 3 cases were similar and included hematosalpinx of the proximal fallopian tubes, intraluminal hemosiderotic material, mural hemosiderosis, and pseudoxanthomatous salpingitis featuring plical and mural lipofuscin-laden macrophages, along with inactive to attenuated endometrium with variable submucosal myometrial hyalinization/scarring compatible with postablative changes. The pathologic features, in conjunction with the appropriate clinicoradiologic findings, were interpreted as consistent with PATSS. PATSS complicates an estimated 5% to 10% of endometrial ablations, but is likely underreported due to a lack of awareness. Pathologists should consider PATSS in hysterectomy specimens that show postablative endometrial changes accompanied by hematosalpinx and pseudoxanthomatous salpingitis of the proximal segments of ligated fallopian tubes. To our knowledge, this is the first study to depict the histopathologic features of PATSS.

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