Dye testing your tubes during tubal reversal surgery may do more harm than good.
Many women who have been thinking about tubal reversal surgery have done their research and have come across various sites which promote dye testing the tubes during surgery as the best technique to make sure the tubes are open.
These comments often do not have any scientific evidence and serve to scare patients away from other tubal reversal specialists by taking advantage of their limited understanding of surgical techniques.
Many of these ‘specialists’ attempt to sway readers with the “more is better” concept of marketing.
After reading our first article, Dye Test Or Stents For Tubal Reversal: Which Is Best?, and this follow-up article you will understand why dye testing the tubes during tubal reversal could be harmful.
Which Is Best? Dye Testing Or Tubal Stent
No reliable medical information exists to support which tubal reversal technique is the best.
I recently searched Pubmed for any scientific data comparing tubal reversal with temporary intraoperative stents to tubal reversal with intraoperative dye testing and did not find any evidence supporting the use of one method over another.
Using temporary tubal stents during tubal surgery has been the historical standard and there are several small research series describing the success of tubal stents during tubal surgery; however, nothing exists which discusses the improved benefits of dye testing during tubal reversal surgery.
At this point in time no medical information exists that supports one method over another.
Potential Problems With Dye Testing
Dye testing may introduce infection, may give false results, and can make the surgery take longer. These are several reasons we abandoned the routine use of dye testing the tubes early in our specializing in tubal reversal surgery.
Dye Testing And Infection: Reason For Concern
Dye testing could contribute to subclinical infection after the tubes are repaired.
When the catheter is placed into the uterus through the vagina this could potentially introduce harmful bacteria into the tubes when the fluid is injected into the tubes.
This could have harmful effects on the tubes and could cause tubal scar tissue formation.
Dye Testing Is Not 100%
If the catheter dislodges a blood clot or small piece of the uterine lining then this could plug up the tubal opening when the dye is injected into the uterine cavity. This will block the tube and cause dye to not go into the tube.
This could give the appearance that the tube is blocked. The surgeon will then think the tubal repair is not good and will start manipulating the repair site. This could potentially cause more trauma to the tubes and may cause the tube to close after the surgery.
Dye Tests Make Surgery Longer
Dye testing involves placing a catheter (small tube) through the vagina and cervix and into the uterus before the surgery starts. After the tubes are repaired a member of the surgical team has to inject the dye through the catheter. These steps increase the time a patient is under the effects of general anesthesia. This is potentially without benefit.
Checking To See If Tubes Are Open
It amazes me how many women have been manipulated by tubal reversal marketing and will ask us if after tubal reversal we are checking to see if tubes are open.
Our preference at Chapel Hill Tubal Reversal Center is to use a delicate tubal stent during tubal reversal surgery because we feel it gives a better surgical result, has less risk of infection, and decreases the time a patient is under the influence of anesthesia. We have the practical experience of over 8,000 tubal reversal surgeries to support our tubal reversal techniques.
Which Tubal Reversal Method Is The Best?
My personal advice to patients who are considering tubal reversal surgery and who are trying to decide is a stent or dye test better for them is to not obsess too much about stents or dye testing. There are no medical studies to support one method over the other and either method can work.
More importantly, I don’t want our patients or potential patients to become overly stressed by the stent v.s. dye test marketing efforts of other providers and to not fall victim to the …”more is better..” philosophy.
The faces of over 1000 Tubal Reversal Testimonial babies on our website should provide you with reassurance that tubal stents do work!
Submitted by Dr. Charles Monteith