Reproductive surgery is performed to treat disorders of the reproductive system. The female reproductive system consists of the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries. Anatomical problems in these structures usually affect fertility. Common reproductive disorders include:
- Uterine abnormalities: These include fibroids, scarring, polyps and congenital abnormalities which may result in pelvic pain, reduced fertility and miscarriages.
- Endometriosis: Abnormal growth of the uterine lining on the surfaces of other organs in the pelvis causing painful menstruation, abnormal vaginal bleeding and infertility
- Fallopian tube abnormalities: This is the tube where the sperm and egg meet. Abnormalities such as infection, adhesions and endometriosis can cause blockage of the tube preventing fertilisation.
- Ovarian cysts: Fluid-filled cavities may develop in the ovaries. These may need to be removed if large or persistent.
Reproductive surgery is usually carried out by the following procedures:
- Laparotomy: Performed through an incision in the lower abdomen to gain access to the pelvic structures. Recovery from this procedure takes about 4-6 weeks.
- Laparoscopy: Performed through a tiny incision just below the navel through which your doctor inserts a miniature telescope to view the inside of the pelvis and perform corrective surgery. Miniature surgical instruments are inserted through the same incision or similar additional incisions. This procedure is often performed on an outpatient basis and recovery usually takes 1-2 weeks.
- Hysteroscopy: This procedure involves the insertion of a fiberoptic tube along with a camera and instruments through the cervix into the uterus. Recovery from this procedure usually takes 1-2 days.
Surgery may be performed to remove fibroids, polyps, scar tissue, ovarian cysts and endometriosis. Endometrial ablation may be performed to remove abnormal uterine lining to treat pain and bleeding. The fallopian tubes may be unblocked or reopened using a dilator, laparoscopic laser, or microsurgery. Cauterised tubes may be rejoined (anastomosed). Surgery may also be performed to address congenital malformations such as uterine septa or a duplicate cervix. Your doctor will discuss your condition as well as the appropriate mode of treatment.