Information for patients
This leaflet can be made available in other formats including large print, CD and Braille and in languages other than English, upon request.
What is fallopian tube recanalisation?
Fallopian tube recanalisation is a fertility surgical operation. This operation attempts to unblock the fallopian tubes using a catheter and a guidewire (a flexible tube and wire used to unblock the tubes by trying to pass it through the area of blockage).
Why would I undergo the operation?
Investigations might have identified a blockage in your fallopian tube, close to the entrance to the uterus (womb).
Reasons for a blockage may include a mucus plug, scar tissue from previous instruments applied to the fallopian tubes, previous infection or previous surgery. If the tube is blocked, this can prevent the sperm and the egg meeting, which causes difficulty for women to get pregnant.
Problems associated with the fallopian tube accounts for 1 in 5 cases of subfertility. Up to 1 in 4 of these cases are due to a blockage to the part of the tube closest to the entrance of the womb.
The aim of fallopian tube recanalisation is to try to clear the blockage.
What does the operation involve?
The operation is undertaken under general anaesthetic (i.e. you will be put to sleep).
A camera is inserted into the abdomen through a small cut in the belly button (keyhole) and another camera (a hysteroscope) is inserted into the womb through the vagina.
This allows us to assess the womb and fallopian tube from both inside and outside.
A catheter (a narrow tube) is inserted into the fallopian tube. A guidewire may also be used to unblock the tube.
Dye is then passed through the tube. This allows the Doctor to check if the blockage has been cleared. A catheter may be inserted into one or both fallopian tubes if needed.
Are there any risks?
Fallopian tubal recanalisation is deemed a safe operation, however any operation carries risk. These include:
- Tubal damage: Damage can be made to the fallopian tube including perforation (a hole in the tube). The risk is small, around two in a hundred1.
- Ectopic pregnancy: A pregnancy develops in the tube rather than in the womb. The risk is around four in a thousand2.
- Failed operation: Sometimes it is not possible to clear the blockage.
- Infection: Although rare an infection may occur in the pelvis; this is often treated with antibiotics.
- Pain: You may require pain relief medication after the operation.
These risks are in addition to the standard risks of laparoscopy and hysteroscopy. Please refer to the following Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) information leaflets for further information:
Recovering well: information for you after laparoscopy:
What happens after the operation?
You will be reviewed by your consultant after the operation to explain the findings and follow up will be arranged if necessary.
Fallopian tube recanalisation is a treatment recommended by The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE). You can visit the NICE website for more information and full guidance:
- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3835434/ 2013
- https://academic.oup.com/humrep/article/32/4/836/2981924 2017
Comments, concerns, compliments or complaints
Patient Experience Team (PET)
We are continually trying to improve the services we provide. We want to know what we’re doing well or if there’s anything which we can improve, that’s why the Patient Experience Team (PET) is here to help. Our Patient Experience Team is here to try to resolve your concerns as quickly as possible. The office is based on the ground floor at the University Hospital of North Tees if you wish to discuss concerns in person. If you would like to contact or request a copy of our PET leaflet, please contact:
Telephone: 01642 624719
Freephone: 0800 092 0084
Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 9:30am to 4:00pm
Email: [email protected]
Out of hours
Out of hours if you wish to speak to a senior member of Trust staff, please contact the hospital switchboard who will bleep the appropriate person.
Telephone: 01642 617617
Data protection and use of patient information
The Trust has developed Data Protection policies in accordance with Data Protection Legislation (UK General Data Protection Regulations and Data Protection Act 2018) and the Freedom of Information Act 2000. All of our staff respect these policies and confidentiality is adhered to at all times. If you require further information on how we process your information please see our Privacy Notices.
Telephone: 01642 383551
Email: [email protected]Privacy Notices
This leaflet has been produced in partnership with patients and carers. All patient leaflets are regularly reviewed, and any suggestions you have as to how it may be improved are extremely valuable. Please write to the Clinical Governance team, North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, University Hospital of North Tees, TS19 8PE or:
Email: [email protected]
Leaflet Reference: PIL1261
Date for review: 10/02/2024