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What Is Chromotubation?

What Is Chromotubation?

Chromotubation (alternatively spelled chromopertubation) is a medical technique that involves injecting a blue dye solution into the fallopian tubes to detect whether there are any blockages.

Surgeons conduct it as part of a procedure known as laparoscopy.

Oviduct or Fallopian tube
Fallopian tubes carry ovum from the ovary to the uterus

What Takes Place Throughout the Chromotubation Procedure?

Through a tiny incision, often just behind the belly button, the surgeon inserts a camera-equipped surgical instrument into the abdominal cavity to see internal organs—in this instance, the fallopian tubes. Before inserting the laparoscope, your surgeon will insert a device called a uterine manipulator into the uterus through the vagina and cervix.

“A dye is then put into the uterus through this catheter, and the tubes are viewed with the laparoscope camera to see whether the dye exits the other end of the tube,” says Dr. Michael Zinger, an OB-GYN and reproductive endocrinologist at RMA Long Island IVF.

If the dye comes out, there is no obstruction; however, if the dye does not come out, there is an obstruction, such as scarring or endometriosis.

Why Is Chromotubulation Performed?

Doctors in Australia use Chromotubation to ascertain the reason for an individual’s infertility during an infertility examination.

If the fallopian tube is blocked, eggs cannot move from the ovaries to the uterus, sperm cannot reach them, and pregnancy cannot occur. Obstructed fallopian tubes might lead to a diagnosis of infertility. 

What Happens During an Infertility Diagnosis

Treatment 

There are a few possible treatments if the Chromotubation procedure reveals a blockage, including the following-

Resection of Tubes

The surgeon might attempt to repair the obstruction during the same laparoscopic procedure. “Often, doctors can resect endometriosis or adhesions obstructing the tubes,” Zinger explains.

“However, resecting the underlying reasons of clogged tubes often does not restore fertility,” he explains. “Often, there is irreversible damage within the tube. This damage might have happened due to the blockage itself or the pressure that built up within the tube during the obstruction.”

According to Zinger, even if the doctors remove the fallopian tube during surgery, the procedure may not be successful in the long term since scarring may recur throughout the healing process.

Fallopian Tube Excision

If the surgeon conducting the Chromotubation determines that the tubes are internally damaged, the surgeon may elect to remove the tube since it will never function correctly.

The removal of the tubes does not preclude the patient from becoming pregnant in the future. They will, however, need in-vitro fertilization (IVF) to conceive.

“IVF circumvents the tubes by combining sperm and eggs in a laboratory dish and then implanting the resultant embryo straight into the uterus,” Zinger adds.

Chromotubation and Laparoscopy
Chromotubation using Laparoscopy

Possibilities and Contraindications of Chromotubulation 

Because Chromotubation is a laparoscopic treatment that involves anesthesia, it has considerable risks, including the following:

  • Loss of blood
  • Possible harm to other abdominal organs 
  • Damage to the nerves
  • Allergies to the anesthetic
  • Clots of blood
  • Adhesions

Additionally, it may have certain adverse consequences. “During the procedure, surgeons pump gas into the belly to separate the organs and allow visibility between them,” Zinger adds. “This gas is responsible for the most common side effect after the procedure—shoulder pain—because the shoulder is the location of the body’s perception of gas pressure at the top of the abdomen.”

Chromotubation is contraindicated in patients with a history of intra-abdominal damage, a prior surgical complication, or an allergic response to anesthesia.

Additional Testing Options Besides Chromotubation

“Because [chromotubation] needs surgery, it has become considerably less prevalent over the years,” Zinger explains. “Most patients now choose nonsurgical approaches to ascertain if their tubes are open.”

Additional alternatives include the following:

Hysterosalpingogram

A hysterosalpingogram (HSG) is a technique that involves injecting contrast dye into the uterus before taking an X-Ray. The X-Ray will enable medical personnel to determine whether or not the contrast dye leaks out of the tubes.

Sonosalpingography

Sonohysterography is a process that involves injecting air bubbles into the uterus and then doing a sonogram to determine if the bubbles escape from the tubes.

“Both of these procedures take less than ten minutes and do not need anesthesia or surgery,” Zinger explains.

Ovaries and Uterus
Chromotubation can also open the obstruction in fallopian tubes

Is Chromotubation Harmful?

There may be some discomfort in the region where you received abdominal incisions during the procedure. There may be some little bruising in the lower abdomen. Additionally, you may feel soreness on the right shoulder or around the neck.

How Do I Determine Whether or Not My Fallopian Tube Is Blocked?

During the Chromotubation procedure, the patient is usually sedated with general anesthesia. The surgeon introduces a laparoscope via a small slit in the skin that has a tiny camera. A metal or plastic tube is inserted into the uterus through the cervix, and a blue dye is fed through it during the procedure. The uterine cavity and fallopian tubes transport this.

If there is no obstruction in the tubes, the dye will pour out of the ends, which will be visible via the laparoscope camera. If the dye does not flow back into the uterus cavity, a block in the tube is evident. Apart from examining tube obstruction, laparoscopy with Chromotubation detects other reasons for infertility, such as endometriosis and scarring of pelvic tissues.

Should I Avoid Getting Pregnant Following a Chromotubation?

Your doctor might recommend you avoid getting pregnant shortly after a laparoscopy. Recovery after Chromotubation might take some time. It may take many weeks to recuperate from the discomfort and bloating of laparoscopy. As a result, doctors recommend waiting a few weeks following the laparoscopic treatment to attempt pregnancy.

Before participating in any physical activity, including intercourse, you should take time to recuperate. It might take anything from a few days to many weeks. It is important to pay attention to your health and avoid issues. Rest and adequate nourishment are critical for a speedy recovery. If you feel discomfort during intercourse, pause and let your body recover. Consult a physician if the pain persists.

How Long Does it Take to Do a Chromotubation and Laparoscopy?

Laparoscopy with Chromotubation is a technique that uses general anesthesia. It takes approximately fifteen minutes for the full operation.

Final Thoughts

Chromotubation enables surgeons to see and detect obstructions in the fallopian tubes with pinpoint accuracy. Additionally, unlike other treatments, the surgeon can try resection during the same process.

However, since Chromotubation uses laparoscopic surgery, it involves inherent dangers that some Australian women may choose to avoid and opt for less invasive alternatives.