Objective: Fertiloscopy is a simple minimal invasive method which allows salpingoscopy and microsalpingoscopy in order to examine the mucosa of the fallopian tubes of patients with unexplained infertility. Infectious tubal damage is a common cause of tubal infertility. In 1998 it was demonstrated that nuclear staining of cellular nuclei during microsalpingoscopy with methylene blue provides a simple in vivo method to evaluate cellular damage of the tubal epithelium. The purpose of this study was to introduce and statistically test a new computerized method to objectively evaluate the extent of tubal damage. DESIGN OF RETROSPECTIVE STUDY: Cooperation of two Departments of Gynecology and Obstetrics (Krankenanstalt Rudolfstiftung, Vienna, Austria and CRES Center, Hôpital Natecia, Lyon, France) with the University of Art and Design, Linz, Austria and University Hospital, Vienna, Austria.
Materials and methods: Microsalpingoscopic images from ten female patients, aged between 18 and 45 years with primary infertility, showing stained nuclei in damaged intrafallopian tubal epithelium were provided by Antoine Watrelot, CRES Center, Hôpital Natecia, Lyon, France. These images were evaluated by an experienced medical expert staff examiner and a computerized standard method called cross-correlation and template matching. The obtained numbers of nuclear stainings were statistically evaluated.
Results: Computerized evaluation of nuclear staining of damaged intrafallopian epithelial cells in female patients with infertility obtains similar but more reproducible results compared to manual evaluation (p = 0.007).
Conclusion: Normalized cross-correlation can be used to measure tubal damage diagnosed by in vivo methylene blue dyeing during microsalpingoscopy and might facilitate the decision for in vitro fertilisation in patients with unclear unexplained infertility in further studies.