Stanford Fertility and Reproductive Medicine Center  

Reproductive Surgery

Reproductive Surgery
Reproductive disorders are frequently due to anatomic problems of the reproductive tract that require surgical correction for optimal reproductive outcomes. Many of these abnormalities can be treated with minimally invasive surgery, using laparoscopy and/or hysteroscopy. Laparoscopy is the placement of a small camera through the belly button under general anesthesia. Using this camera and 1 to 3 other 0.5 to 1 cm incisions, surgical correction of reproductive disorders can be performed. The advantages of minimally invasive surgery are that patients can go home the same day and resume normal activities within 1 to 2 weeks in most cases. Hysteroscopy is the placement of a small camera and other surgical instruments into the uterine cavity. Recovery from hysteroscopic procedures is typically 1 to 2 days.

Fallopian Tube abnormalities

The fallopian tubes are the path that the sperm and egg must take to achieve fertilization and successfully implant in the uterine cavity. Disorders of the fallopian tubes can lead to the inability to conceive, because the sperm and egg cannot meet. Prior pelvic infection, surgery, or endometriosis can lead to blocked fallopian tubes. Laparoscopy is used to diagnose and treat these disorders. In some cases, severely damaged fallopian tubes must be removed to give a woman her best chance to conceive with in vitro fertilization because fluid buildup in the fallopian tubes can create a toxic environment for implantation. In other cases, pelvic scaring and endometriosis can be treated to improve a patient’s chances of conceiving naturally or with less aggressive fertility treatments.

Uterine abnormalities

The uterus or womb is the organ where the embryo implants and develops throughout a pregnancy. Uterine abnormalities can contribute to decreased fertilization, miscarriage, or pregnancy complications. Common uterine abnormalities requiring surgical treatment include polyps, scarring, fibroids and septums. Many of these abnormalities can be treated using hysteroscopy and/or laparoscopy, but some may require more extensive surgery depending on the patient’s condition. Uterine fibroids are very common among women of reproductive age and not all fibroids need to be removed in order to achieve a successful pregnancy.

Ovarian Cysts

Ovarian cysts are a frequent finding in women of reproductive age. Many of them resolve on their own and do not require surgery. Cysts that are large or persistent, lasting more than 2 to 3 months may require surgery. Most ovarian cysts are non-cancerous and may be due to endometriosis or other benign processes. Cancer is rarely found in women of reproductive age with simple ovarian cysts, but surgical removal and microscopic examination is the only way to definitively diagnose the type of cyst. Ovarian cysts can typically be removed laparoscopically, and do not require removal of the entire ovary. Other ovarian disorders, such as polycystic ovarian syndrome, can be treated medically and rarely require surgery.

Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a gynecologic condition characterized by endometrial tissue from the inner lining of the uterus, growing outside of the endometrial cavity. Typical symptoms of endometriosis are painful menstrual periods, vaginal bleeding between periods, and infertility; however, some women with infertility associated with endometriosis have no symptoms. Laparoscopy can be used to diagnosis and treat endometriosis in a single procedure. Although the exact mechanism of how endometriosis causes infertility remains poorly understood, the strong association between endometriosis and unexplained infertility exists and many studies have shown that treatment of endometriosis can improve fertility in women attempting to conceive on their own and with fertility treatments.

Our Services

We at Stanford Fertility and Reproductive Medicine Center offer one of the most comprehensive diagnostic and treatment services for patients suffering from infertility. As the information above indicates that many conditions result in infertility, however most of them respond to medical and/or surgical therapy. Scheduled surgeries are performed at Stanford Hospital and Clinics’ newly renovated Ambulatory Surgery Center. The Surgery center features 12 operating suites, advanced endoscopic equipment and lasers. The surgery center is staffed by highly trained surgeons and anesthesiologists. Private preoperative areas, with televisions and expanded recovery areas are staffed with highly skilled nursing staff to ensure that you are provided excellent care in a comfortable and caring environment.

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