STUDY QUESTION: What is the chance of natural conception when salpingostomy is used to treat hydrosalpinx?.
SUMMARY ANSWER: The natural clinical pregnancy rate following salpingostomy is 27%, in the hands of experienced surgeons who publish their results.
WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY: Tubal surgery is not commonly offered for women with hydrosalpinges since the advent of assisted conception treatment. This is the first systematic review to investigate natural conception rates following salpingostomy in the treatment of hydrosalpinx.
STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, DURATION: A systematic review and meta-analysis of 22 observational studies encompasses 2810 patients undergoing salpingostomy and attempting natural conception.
PARTICIPANTS/MATERIALS, SETTING, METHODS: Literature searches were conducted to retrieve observational studies which reported salpingostomy for hydrosalpinx. Databases searched included MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials and CINAHL, with no language restriction. Only studies that focused on salpingostomy (rather than other tubal conserving surgeries) for the treatment of hydrosalpinx were included. A total of 22 studies matched the inclusion criteria.
MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANCE: The pooled natural clinical pregnancy rate from the 22 observational studies (including 2810 patients) was 27% (95% confidence interval (CI): 25-29%) after salpingostomy was performed for hydrosalpinx. The cumulative clinical pregnancy rates were 8.7% (95% CI: 6.6-11.5%) at 6 months, 13.3% (95% CI: 10.6-16.7%) at 9 months, 20.0% (95% CI: 17.5-22.8%) at 12 months, 21.2% (95% CI: 18.6-24.1%) at 18 months and 25.5% (95% CI: 22.2-29.4%) at 24 months after salpingostomy. The pooled live birth rate (10 studies, 1469 patients) was 25% (95% CI: 22-28%) after salpingostomy was performed for hydrosalpinx. The pooled ectopic pregnancy rate (19 studies, 2662 patients) was 10% (95% CI: 9-11%). The pooled miscarriage rate (seven studies, 924 patients) was 7% (95% CI: 6-9%). The included studies scored well on the Newcastle Ottawa quality assessment scale.
LIMITATIONS, REASONS FOR CAUTION: Strict inclusion criteria were used in the conduct of the systematic review. However, the studies included are clinically heterogeneous in many aspects including patient characteristics, surgical technique and duration of follow-up after salpingostomy.
WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS: The findings of this systematic review suggest that salpingostomy is an alternative treatment strategy to tubal clipping or salpingectomy in patients presenting to fertility services with hydrosalpinx. Further prospective, large and high quality studies are needed to identify the subpopulation that would most benefit from tube conserving surgery.
STUDY FUNDING/COMPETING INTERESTS: No external funding was either sought or obtained for this study. The authors have no competing interests to declare.
TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: N/A.