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Fallopian Tube Catheterization (Recanalization)

Fallopian tubes carry eggs from a woman’s ovaries to her uterus (womb). If sperm meets an egg in a fallopian tube, the egg is fertilized. If the tubes are blocked, fertilization can’t happen. Fallopian tube catheterization helps open blocked tubes. This improves a woman’s chances of getting pregnant. The procedure is done by a doctor called an interventional radiologist.

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Before the Procedure

The procedure is scheduled for shortly after your menstrual period ends. This helps ensure you are not pregnant. Follow the instructions you are given to prepare. This includes the following:

  • You may be prescribed antibiotics to take before and after the procedure. Take them as directed.

  • You may be prescribed pain medication to take before the procedure. Take it as directed.

  • Arrange for an adult family member or friend to give you a ride home after the procedure.

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During the Procedure

  • You lie on your back on an x-ray table.

  • An IV line may be put into a vein in your arm or hand. This line gives you medications to help relax you and keep you from feeling pain.

  • A speculum (small metal or plastic tube) is put into the vagina to hold it open.

  • A thin, flexible tube called a catheter is put through the cervix into the uterus.

  • Contrast medium is injected through the catheter. It flows up into the fallopian tubes. The contrast helps your tubes show up on the x-ray that is then taken. This test is called a hysterosalpingogram (HSG). It will show the blockage in the fallopian tube and help guide the rest of the procedure.

  • The catheter is moved into the opening of the fallopian tube.

  • Fluid is injected through the catheter into the tube. This helps to clear the blockage. The catheter may have a small balloon on the end. The balloon can be inflated to help clear blockage.

After the Procedure

  • Some cramping and mild bleeding is common for 3–5 days.

  • Do not put anything into the vagina for 48 hours after the procedure. This includes tampons or sex.

  • Call the doctor if you have any of the following:

    • Severe pain

    • Bleeding

    • Fever over 100.4°F.

Risks and Complications

The risks and possible complications of this procedure include:

  • Perforation of a fallopian tube

  • Pelvic infection

  • Problems due to contrast medium, including allergic reaction or kidney damage

  • Tubal pregnancy

  • Radiation exposure to reproductive organs

 

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