Fallopian tube damages
A common cause of infertility is due to the blockage of – or damage to – a woman’s fallopian tubes. Dr. Potgieter cites two primary sources for damage or blockage to a woman’s fallopian tubes: Endometriosis and Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID).
A woman’s fallopian tubes may be blocked at the junction of the tube and uterus (proximal), or at the end of the tubes (distal).
A proximal or distal blockage prevents an egg from moving through the fallopian tube toward sperm. Such blockage also prevents sperm from traveling into the fallopian tube and fertilizing an egg. In the event the egg and sperm manage to meet and fertilization occurs, the fertilized egg may not be able to travel back through the fallopian tube and into her uterus for implantation.
Because of blockage, a fertilized egg could become entrapped within a fallopian tube, resulting in an ectopic pregnancy (tubal pregnancy). A tubal pregnancy can cause permanent damage to a woman’s fallopian tube.
Dr. Potgieter will use a laparoscopy procedure to discover the medical condition that is causing a woman’s infertility. By inserting a small, thin, lighted telescope device – a laparoscope – into the patient’s abdomen, Dr. Potgieter will be able to view her fallopian tubes and detect the location of a blockage. Once located, he may be able to treat the condition causing infertility, which typically entails the removal of endometriosis or scarring tissue from the fallopian tubes. The laparoscopy is a procedure performed while the patient is under anesthesia, however, she will be able to go home on the same day.
Another procedure commonly used by Dr. Potgieter is a hysterosalpingogram (HSG) – the injection of a radiographic dye into a woman’s uterus. If her fallopian tubes are clear, the dye will pass through into her abdomen. Picture of the fallopian tubes are captured by a fluoroscopy (X-ray) as the dye passes through.
Dr. Potgieter can also perform corrective tubal surgery using a hysteroscope to detect and remove a blockage in a woman’s fallopian tubes. The hysteroscope allows him to look directly into a woman’s uterine cavity and determine if there is a blockage where the tubes meet the uterus. If so, he can then insert a tiny diameter catheter into her fallopian tubes and remove the blockage. This efficient procedure is performed while the patient is under anesthesia and is similar to the technique used by cardiologists to open blocked blood vessels in the heart.