Laparoscopy & ultrasound pictures & discussion of hydrosalpinx
Blocked and dilated fallopian tubes in infertile women
A hydrosalpinx is a blocked fallopian tube that is filled with fluid. It can be dilated to varying degrees from the accumulated fluid. Doctors can diagnose a hydrosalpinx in several ways including ultrasound, surgery such as laparoscopy, or with a specialized x-ray test called a hysterosalpingogram, or HSG.
Tubal blockage and tubal infertility is usually a result of previous pelvic infection such as pelvic inflammatory disease, but also can be caused by endometriosis and other conditions. Because fertility specialists are lazy, they often use the nickname "hydro".
Women with bilateral (both sides) tubal damage and hydrosalpinx are infertile and will need either tubal surgery, such as neosalpingostomy, or in vitro fertilization in order to get pregnant.
Hydrosalpinx and IVF success rates
If a woman going through IVF has a hydrosalpinx visible by ultrasound, the average expected IVF success rate is lower compared that expected in a similar patient without a hydrosalpinx. If there is are bilateral hydrosalpinges (hydros on each side - plural of hydrosalpinx is hydrosalpinges) visible on ultrasound, studies have shown that the expected IVF success rate is lower than with a hydro on one side.
The medical studies on hydrosalpinx and IVF outcome agree that there is a decrease in success rates, but they do not agree on the amount of the decrease caused by the hydro. In general, studies suggest that the chances for live birth are reduced about 25% with a hydro present on ultrasound.
IVF success rates vary significantly between different centers - it is wise to research IVF live birth rates carefully before choosing a clinic for the treatment.
Learn more about hydrosalpinx and IVF success
Careful ultrasound examination should be able to detect any significant hydrosalpinx. Studies have shown that if surgery is performed to remove the fallopian tube (or tubes), the expected IVF success rate is normalized.
A left fallopian tube that is blocked and dilated with fluid (hydrosalpinx)
This is evidence of previous pelvic inflammatory disease - PID
Pelvic scar tissue is also present between the tube and ovary
This woman has tubal infertility - which is treatable
"P" is a probe used in the surgical procedure
A normal left tube for comparison
The tube is floating in water for better visualization
"F" is the fimbriated end of the tube that picks up the egg at ovulation
"G" is a grasper used in the surgery
View looking down at a blocked right fallopian tube
The end of the tube is stuck in scar tissue down behind the ovary - "O"
The "T"s mark the course of the right tube
A probe is touching the blocked and stuck end of the tube
The labeled adhesion (scar tissue) is between the bowel and the abdominal wall
Below is an ultrasound picture of the same woman's tube
Ultrasound photo of the same woman's tube as above
The black tubular structure is the hydrosalpinx fluid within the tube
Laparoscopy surgery picture from another woman with blocked tubes
The right tube is blocked and stuck in scar tissue to the side of the ovary
This woman had a small hydrosalpinx visible with pelvic ultrasound