Evidence-based diagnosis and management of tubal factor infertility

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Abstract

Purpose of review

The investigation for potential tubal disease is an essential step in the work-up of infertility. This review article provides an evidence-based overview of the diagnosis and management of tubal factor infertility.

Recent findings

While laparoscopic chromopertubation remains the gold standard in the diagnosis of tubal disease and hysterosalpingography is still widely used, newer modalities offer some advantages. Sonohysterography with the use of contrast medium is superior to hysterosalpingography and comparable to laparoscopic chromotubation in diagnosing tubal blockage. Chlamydia serology is the most cost-effective and least invasive diagnostic test for tubal disease, and it is comparable to, if not better than, hysterosalpingography. Depending on the nature and degree of tubal dysfunction as well as the age and ovarian reserve of the patient, various treatments for tubal infertility are available. For proximal tubal obstruction, transcervical tubal cannulation with tubal flushing is a reasonable first approach. Surgical techniques for tubal repair, such as salpingostomy or fimbrioplasty for distal tubal obstruction, can provide good results. Still, tubal factor remains a major indication for in-vitro fertilization and embryo transfer, which bypasses the tubal problem altogether. In certain situations, such as the presence of hydrosalpinx, prophylactic surgery can be used in conjunction with in-vitro fertilization and embryo transfer.

Summary

As with infertility in general, the diagnosis and management of tubal infertility should be tailored to the individual patient. Future studies should help to further clarify the role of the various diagnostic tests and therapeutic approaches for tubal infertility.

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