Falloposcopic tuboplasty: an easy, quick, and safe technique

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Authors:

Hidehiko Matsubayashi, M.D., Yukiko Takaya, M.D., Takumi Takeuchi, M.D., Masakazu Doshida, M.D., Yasuhiro Ohara, M.D., Tomomoto Ishikawa, M.D.

Abstract:

Objective

To describe our simplified technique for falloposcopic tuboplasty (FT) and demonstrate its principle and results.


Design

A step-by-step description of the technique and demonstration of its principle using a clay model.


Setting

Private infertility clinics in Osaka and Tokyo operated by 10 physicians.


Patient(s)

A total of 431 infertile women with a diagnosis of unilateral or bilateral proximal tubal occlusion (6 cm from the uterotubal ostia), between October 2013 and February 2019 were included. These patients underwent routine work-ups for infertility, including a semen analysis, hysterosalpingography, antimüllerian hormone, basal luteinizing hormone/follicle-stimulating hormone and prolactin concentrations during menstruation, postcoital test in the periovulatory period, and estradiol and progesterone concentrations in the middle of the luteal phase. Physicians performed hysterosalpingography to evaluate tubal patency and uterine shape. Saline infusion sonography was not conducted because it does not accurately identify regions of tubal occlusion and/or stenosis.


Intervention(s)

The principle of our simplified technique for FT is that a hole is located at the side of the FT catheter tip. Therefore, the balloon and fiberscope move away from the catheter line (Fig. 1). The uterotubal ostium is located at the tip-end of the triangle of the uterine cavity. When a balloon is inserted while visualizing the uterotubal ostium at the nearest position to the ostium, the balloon hits the uterine wall. When a balloon is inserted 5–10 mm from the uterotubal ostium without visualization, the balloon may be easily placed in the ostium through its convex angle, allowing it to slide into the uterine wall (Figs. 2 and 3). Step 1: Confirm anteflexion or retroflexion of the uterus by ultrasound. Step 2: Confirm the direction of the uterotubal ostia by hysteroscopy. Step 3: Adjust the angle of the FT catheter according to steps 1 and 2, insert the catheter into the end of the uterus, pull it back 5–10 mm (without visualizing the uterotubal ostia), and then fix it to the forceps. Catheter placement away from the tubal ostium is confirmed by the residual length of the moving part of the catheter. An attending instructor should ask the operator about the feeling of rigidity when the catheter does not advance and then suggest whether to proceed or stop. In the latter case, the catheter is not moved, saline is infused for 1 minute for lubrication, the balloon is pulled back using the fiberscope to remove the bunching of the balloon, and balloon pressure is changed as follows: 6→8→6→10→6 mmHg. Our institutional review board stated that approval was not required because the video describes the technique of our routine procedure.


Main Outcome Measure(s)

A description of the FT technique using a clay model and a demonstration of its application in our clinic.


Result(s)

The average operative time was 15.4 minutes, and the clinical pregnancy rate was 24.4% (natural conception and intrauterine insemination without in vitro fertilization). No significant differences were observed in the operative time or pregnancy rate among physicians. Approximately 17 FT procedures may be performed using one fiberscope.


Conclusion(s)

Our simplified technique, which was described and demonstrated in this video article, is a feasible and practical approach for performing FT. It provides excellent cost performance by saving fiberscopes. The most important point is “Introduce the balloon and fiberscope 5–10 mm away from the uterotubal ostia without visualizing it.” To facilitate learning this technique, we recommend watching the video and then practicing FT without searching for the uterotubal ostia. Physicians master FT without any assistance by an attending instructor in ≤3 attempts.

Fertility and Sterility

Editorial Office, American Society for Reproductive Medicine

Fertility and Sterility® is an international journal for obstetricians, gynecologists, reproductive endocrinologists, urologists, basic scientists and others who treat and investigate problems of infertility and human reproductive disorders.