Ectopic Pregnancy Surgery

An ectopic pregnancy can be life-threatening and needs to be removed quickly. It can have significant impacts on a woman’s health, requiring a clear understanding of how it develops and how it’s diagnosed. We go through these while also delving into complications that can arise from a ruptured ectopic pregnancy and the surgical solutions available in Singapore.

What is an Ectopic Pregnancy?

An ectopic pregnancy is an uncommon medical condition that occurs when a fertilised egg implants and starts to grow outside the main cavity of the uterus, most commonly in one of the fallopian tubes. This is why it’s often referred to as a tubal pregnancy. 

The fallopian tubes are not made to hold a developing embryo, which is why an ectopic pregnancy cannot proceed normally. The growing embryo could cause the fallopian tube to rupture, leading to severe bleeding and potentially life-threatening complications for the mother. Unfortunately, an ectopic pregnancy cannot be moved to the uterus to grow normally. This means surgical treatment is needed to remove the ectopic tissue.

Ectopic pregnancies do not result from something a woman did before or during pregnancy. Factors that might increase the risk include previous ectopic pregnancies, inflammation or infection of the fallopian tubes, fertility treatments, and conditions that affect the shape and condition of the fallopian tubes and reproductive organs.

Diagnosing an Ectopic Pregnancy

Diagnosing an ectopic pregnancy involves a combination of clinical evaluation, ultrasound imaging, and blood tests, aimed at identifying the pregnancy’s location outside the uterus. This process is crucial because early detection can significantly reduce the risk of complications. Here are some key tests used during the diagnosis process

During this procedure, an ultrasound probe is inserted into the vagina, providing clear images of the fallopian tubes and uterus. If an ectopic pregnancy is present, the ultrasound may show the embryo or gestational sac outside the uterus, often in a fallopian tube. In some cases, the ectopic pregnancy may not be directly visible, but the absence of a pregnancy within the uterus when a pregnancy is suspected can raise suspicion of an ectopic pregnancy.

The measurement of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), a hormone produced during pregnancy, is also particularly important. In a normal pregnancy, hCG levels double approximately every two days. In the case of an ectopic pregnancy, the increase in hCG levels is often slower. Repeated hCG measurements over a few days can provide valuable information for diagnosis.

In addition to hCG levels, the measurement of progesterone, another hormone important for maintaining pregnancy, may be used. Low levels of progesterone can be an indicator of an ectopic pregnancy or a pregnancy that is not viable.

Importance of Early Diagnosis

Early diagnosis of an ectopic pregnancy is paramount for several reasons. It can significantly reduce the risk of complications like internal bleeding, which can be life-threatening if not addressed promptly. Early intervention also preserves the health and future fertility of the woman, allowing for less invasive treatment options.

Emergency Surgery for Ruptured Ectopic Pregnancy

In cases where the fallopian tube ruptures during an ectopic pregnancy, it can cause significant internal bleeding. This emergency situation requires swift surgical intervention to remove the ectopic pregnancy and stop the bleeding.

Types of Ectopic Pregnancy Surgery

Surgical intervention for ectopic pregnancy can be performed through two main approaches: laparoscopic surgery and laparotomy.

Laparoscopic Surgery

Laparoscopic surgery, also known as keyhole surgery, is the most common and least invasive method used to treat ectopic pregnancies. This procedure involves making small incisions through which a camera and surgical instruments are inserted, allowing the surgeon to remove the ectopic pregnancy with minimal impact on surrounding tissue. The benefits of laparoscopic surgery include a shorter recovery time and less post-operative discomfort.

Laparotomy

In more severe cases, particularly when there is significant internal bleeding or if the ectopic pregnancy is not accessible via laparoscopy, a laparotomy may be performed. This procedure involves a larger incision in the abdomen to provide direct access to the affected area. While laparotomy is more invasive, it is sometimes necessary to ensure the safety and well-being of the patient.

Miscarriage surgery in Singapore

We understand that it can be scary to go through a miscarriage because of an ectopic pregnancy. That is why we believe that a safe, supportive environment is important.

At W Gynae, we specialise in providing personalised healthcare for women of all ages and various conditions. If you’re looking for an ectopic pregnancy surgery clinic in Singapore, book a consultation with us today.

Frequently Asked Questions

In some cases, if an ectopic pregnancy is caught early and the fallopian tube hasn’t ruptured, it may be treated with a medication called methotrexate, which stops the growth of the pregnancy. However, surgery is required if the tube has ruptured, if the pregnancy is too developed, or if the patient has significant symptoms or contraindications to medical therapy.

The recovery time can vary depending on the type of surgery performed. For the less invasive laparoscopic surgery, recovery time is generally shorter, with many individuals returning to normal activities within a week. However, a laparotomy may require a longer recovery period, typically around 4 to 6 weeks.

Having one ectopic pregnancy may increase the risk of having another. However, many women go on to have successful pregnancies after an ectopic pregnancy. The chances of a successful pregnancy depend on several factors, including the health of your fallopian tubes and any underlying medical conditions.

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