Some common causes of infertility in both women and men can now be treated without surgery by interventional radiologists. Often these treatments do not require hospitalization or general anesthesia. Patients usually may return to normal activity shortly after the procedure.
Female Infertility: Blockage of the Fallopian Tube
The most common cause of female infertility is a blockage of the fallopian tube through which eggs pass from the ovary to the uterus. Occasionally, these tubes become plugged or narrowed, preventing successful pregnancy.
Interventional radiologists can diagnose and treat a blockage in the fallopian tubes with a nonsurgical procedure known as selective salpingography. In the procedure, which does not require an incision, a catheter is placed into the uterus. A contrast agent, or dye, is injected through the catheter, and an X-ray image of the uterine cavity is obtained. When a blockage of the fallopian tube is identified, another catheter is threaded into the fallopian tube to open the blockage.
Reprinted with permission of the Society of Interventional Radiology (c) 2004, www.SIRweb.org. All rights reserved.