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Tied Tubes and Ectopic Pregnancy

Q: My wife just had a ultrasound to find out if she may be pregnant in her tubes. My question involves the fact that she had her tubes tied 6 years ago. What are the chances that she could be pregnant in her tubes compared to some other sort of illness? If she is pregnant in her tubes and is treated for such then does that mean her tubes are no longer tied? Will her chances of this happening in the future increase? If she gets treated for this pregnancy will her tubes no longer be tied?  If so will the doctor advise her to get the procedure again? Will her refusal put her at serious risk in the future?
I understand this to be a serious issue. I am very worried...
Thank you.

Dr. Donnica:
You are talking about a condition called "ectopic pregnancy," which is considered a pregnancy anywhere outside the uterus.  It is generally treated surgically.  Yes, having had one's "tubes tied" (tubal ligation) in the past is a risk factor for this condition, although it is still very rare.  In a woman who has an ectopic pregnancy who had a previous tubal ligation, the doctor would generally remove her tube and double check the other one (you can ask to be sure the tube is "cauterized"), thus greatly reducing her risk of this ever happening again. 

If her doctor recommends surgery to remove a tubal pregnancy, it is because this is a life-threatening situation. It is not to "re-tie" her tubes, although that will be a benefit of the same surgery.  Sometimes tubal pregnancies can be safely treated with a chemotherapy medication called methotrexate. 

For more information on tubal pregnancy, click here.

Wishing you both luck,
Donnica Moore MD
President, DrDonnica.com

Created: 11/23/2002  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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