Current status of surgical and nonsurgical management of ectopic pregnancy

Fertil Steril. 1997 Mar;67(3):421-33. doi: 10.1016/s0015-0282(97)80064-7.


Objectives: To review the efficacy, safety, costs, and subsequent reproductive outcome of surgical and nonsurgical management of ectopic pregnancy (EP).

Design: Pertinent studies were identified through computer Medline search. The rates of intrauterine pregnancy (IUP) and EP were calculated from the raw data in the original publications so that the denominator would be consistent.

Result(s): The efficacy of laparoscopic treatment of EP is similar to that by laparotomy. The rate of persistent EP after conservative surgery ranges from 3% to 20%. Based on a review of 1,514 patients attempting to conceive after linear salpingostomy, the IUP and recurrent EP rates were 61.4% and 15.4%, respectively, among patients who had laparotomy, and 61% and 15.5%, respectively, among patients who had laparoscopic procedure. Of 3,584 patients who had partial or total salpingectomy, the subsequent IUP rate was 38.1% and the recurrent EP rate was 9.8%. Of 540 patients treated with a single-dose methotrexate, 84% did not require further treatment and, among 215 patients who attempted to conceive, 54% had subsequent IUP and 8% had recurrent EP. The success rate of expectant management was 69.2% in 347 patients reviewed.

Conclusion(s): There is no difference in the reproductive outcome after treatment of EP by laparotomy and by laparoscopy. Salpingostomy is associated with higher subsequent IUP and recurrent EP rates compared with salpingectomy. Methotrexate is a viable alternative to laparoscopic salpingostomy for a selected group of patients.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Laparoscopy
  • Laparotomy
  • Methotrexate / therapeutic use
  • Pain
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Pregnancy*
  • Pregnancy, Ectopic / epidemiology
  • Pregnancy, Ectopic / surgery
  • Pregnancy, Ectopic / therapy*
  • Salpingostomy


  • Methotrexate