Objective: To evaluate fertility after salpingectomy or tubotomy for ectopic pregnancy.
Design: Retrospective cohort study.
Setting: Clinical University Center, Hvidovre Hospital, Copenhagen.
Population: Two hundred and seventy-six women undergoing salpingectomy or tubotomy for their first ectopic pregnancy between January 1992 and January 1999 and who actively attempted to conceive were followed for a minimum of 18 months.
Methods: Retrospective cohort study combined with questionnaire to compare reproductive outcome following salpingectomy or tubotomy for ectopic pregnancy. Cumulative probabilities of pregnancy for each group were calculated by the Kaplan-Meier estimator and compared by Cox regression analysis to control for potential confounders.
Main outcome measures: Intrauterine pregnancy rates and recurrence rates of ectopic pregnancy after surgery for ectopic pregnancy.
Results: The cumulative intrauterine pregnancy rate was significantly higher after tubotomy (88%) than after salpingectomy (66%) (log rank P < 0.05) after correction for confounding factors. No difference was found in the recurrence rate of ectopic pregnancy between the treatments (16% vs 17%). In patients with contralateral tubal pathology, the chance of pregnancy was poor (hazard ratio 0.463) and the risk of recurrence was high (hazard ratio 2.25), assessed with Cox regression. The rate of persistent ectopic pregnancy was 8%.
Conclusion: Conservative surgery is superior to radical surgery at preserving fertility. Conservative surgery is not followed by an increased risk of repeat ectopic pregnancy, but by the risk of persistent ectopic pregnancy, which should be taken into account when deciding on the operative procedure. Management in case of contralateral tubal pathology is disputed and should ideally be addressed in a randomised clinical trial.