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Is surgery only the treatment available for ectopic pregnancy?

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posted Mar 23, 2016 by Pallavi

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2 Answers

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No, surgery is not the only treatment for ectopic pregnancy. It depends on the size of the fetus, the intensity of patient's symptoms and the extent of complication involved. If the patient undergoes heavy bleeding after diagnosis of pregnancy, it is a sure shot signal of fallopian tube rupture and a case of emergency. If it is not treated within short span, chances are that the woman might lose her life due to hemorrhage. In this case surgery is the only option to remove the ruptured tubes and fetus. Surgery is also an option when the fetus size is large and any other forms which are discussed below would not have a lasting effect on pregnancy.

Surgery in most of the cases involves laparoscopy, which is doing small incisions on the abdominal part, inserting a device to rupture the fetus and the tube(if needed). The doctor should discuss the severity involved and the patient should be intimated about the removal of tubes in advance. Laparotomy is another form, which involves making a big cut to the abdominal area and usually done when the fetus size is large and tubal damages are extreme.

The other treatments available apart of surgery are:

Methotrexate drug - This is given as an injection on the buttocks which stops the pregnancy. After this the blood test has to be done to identify the levels of hCG. If the levels haven't reduced after one dose of injection, another dose is taken. It usually comes with it's own side effects, which involve, abdominal pain, dizziness, diarrhea etc. This is usually prefered when symptoms are low to medium.

Expectant management method - This method has zero side effects as there are no medications involved. It involves continuous checking of hCG levels in blood and expecting the pregnancy to dissolve by itself. This is prefered only at times when fetus is of least size and symptoms are mild. This however involves a range of uncertainty since the existence of pregnancy after continuous monitoring is not confirmed.

answer Mar 23, 2016 by Dr Prachi
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A lot of factors depend or decide the treatment mode your doctor or general physician follows after an ectopic pregnancy. Surgery is definitely not the first resort, though it may be the last. Here’s what you can expect after the same-

Monitoring and Lifestyle Changes

One of the first treatments that comes into account here would be monitoring your entire recovery process. In some cases, mothers who had minor case of ectopic pregnancy are not given too many medications. Rather they are checked for hCG levels in the blood to ensure that all traces of the pregnancy are gone. In case of minor symptoms like pain or light vaginal bleeding, doctors just advice rest and healthy eating. So basically you recuperate at you own natural pace and miscarriage happens with the body taking charge.


In case the ectopic pregnancy had been diagnosed on time but monitoring alone might not be advisable, the doctor may provide medicine called methotrexate. It is a medicine that is known for restricting the pregnancy further and is given via an injection through buttocks. In this case, there is no need for hospitalization again. But blood tests are conducted of monitoring the same. A second dose is given in case of the first one not being effective. Some risks here include rupturing of the fallopian tube. Contraception is suggested post this treatment as the medicine is harmful for a baby - and you should not conceive or try for at least 3 months post the treatment.

Keyhole Surgery

A laparoscopy or a keyhole surgery is carried out in case the pregnancy gets too big or large. Here, any other removal process is risky for the mother. The process requires a general anesthetic, so you're asleep while it's carried out. In this case the fallopian tube is removed - only the unhealthy one. Small cuts and incisions are made, unlike major surgeries.

answer Apr 21, 2016 by Kiran