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Hum Reprod. 2011 Nov;26(11):2918-24. doi: 10.1093/humrep/der274. Epub 2011 Aug 16.

The post-reproductive Fallopian tube: better removed?

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Würzburg, School of Medicine, Josef-Schneider-Strasse 4, 97080 Würzburg, Germany.


Recently, the distal Fallopian tube has attracted considerable attention not only as site of origin for serous cancer in women with BRCA mutations, but also as the anatomical location where the majority of serous ovarian cancers apparently develop. Consequently, the Fallopian tube may be the unique location where early 'ovarian' cancers can be found--which would contradict the long-standing impression that the ovaries and the Fallopian tubes are always simultaneously involved. Based on the dismal prognosis associated with ovarian cancer and our inability to screen for early-stage disease, we discuss the rationale for introducing salpinges-hysterectomy as new clinical standard for women in need of hysterectomy and further weigh the arguments for and against bilateral salpingectomy as a sterilization method. There is no known physiological benefit of retaining the post-reproductive Fallopian tube during hysterectomy or sterilization, especially as this does not affect ovarian hormone production. On the other hand, the consequences associated with a surgical menopause provide a rationale for preserving the ovaries in premenopausal women. Prophylactic removal of the Fallopian tubes during hysterectomy or sterilization would rule out any subsequent tubal pathology, such as hydrosalpinx, which is observed in up to 30% of women after hysterectomy. Moreover, this intervention is likely to offer considerable protection against later tumour development, even if the ovaries are retained. Thus, we recommend that any hysterectomy should be combined with salpingectomy. In addition, women over 35 years of age could also be offered bilateral salpingectomy as means of sterilization.

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