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Laparoscopic treatment
of ectopic pregnancy

An ectopic pregnancy is when a fertilised egg implants itself outside of the womb, usually in one of the fallopian tubes. The fallopian tubes are the tubes connecting the ovaries to the womb. If an egg gets stuck in them, it won't develop into a baby and your health may be at risk if the pregnancy continues. Unfortunately, it's not possible to save the pregnancy. It usually has to be removed using medicine or an operation.

In most cases, keyhole surgery (laparoscopy) will be carried out to remove the pregnancy before it becomes too large.

During a laparoscopy

  • You're given general anaesthetic, so you're asleep while it's carried out
  • Small cuts (incisions) are made in your tummy
  • A thin viewing tube (laparoscope) and small surgical instruments are inserted through the incisions
  • The entire fallopian tube containing the pregnancy is removed if your other fallopian tube looks healthy – otherwise, removing the pregnancy without removing the whole tube may be attempted

Removing the affected fallopian tube is the most effective treatment and isn't thought to reduce your chances of becoming pregnant again.

Your doctor will discuss this with you beforehand, and you'll be asked whether you consent to having the tube removed.

Most women can leave hospital a few days after surgery, although it can take 4 to 6 weeks to fully recover.
If your fallopian tube has already ruptured, you'll need emergency surgery.
The surgeon will make a larger incision in your tummy (laparotomy) to stop the bleeding and repair your fallopian tube, if that's possible.
After either type of surgery, a treatment called anti-D rhesus prophylaxis will be given if your blood type is RhD negative (see blood groups for more information).
This involves an injection of a medicine that helps to prevent rhesus disease in future pregnancies.