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Risks and Benefits of Salpingectomy at the Time of Sterilization

Castellano, Tara MD*; Zerden, Matthew MD, MPH†‡; Marsh, Laura MPH§; Boggess, Kim MD

Obstetrical & Gynecological Survey: November 2017 - Volume 72 - Issue 11 - p 663–668
doi: 10.1097/OGX.0000000000000503

Importance Bilateral salpingectomy reduces the risk ovarian cancer. The Society of Gynecologic Oncology has recommended surgeons discuss salpingectomy with patients desiring sterilization.

Objective This review summarizes current literature on the benefits and risks of bilateral salpingectomy to reduce ovarian cancer risk. Areas of insufficient evidence and directions for further research are discussed.

Evidence Acquisition We examined the benefits and risks of bilateral salpingectomy for female surgical sterilization, using a PubMed and EMBASE literature review. Search parameters included articles in English language and keywords “salpingectomy” or “ovarian cancer” combined with “contraception,” “sterilization,” or “tubal ligation.”

Results We reviewed 4 high-quality studies that investigated the increased risk reduction of bilateral salpingectomy compared with traditional sterilization. Overall, evidence shows that salpingectomy moderately decreases the risk of ovarian cancer compared with traditional sterilization. An additional 4 studies, including a meta-analysis, showed salpingectomy likely does not have significant long-term impact on ovarian reserve. Additional benefits include improved contraceptive efficacy and elimination of subsequent ectopic pregnancies. Risks include need for in vitro fertilization for patients experiencing sterilization regret, increases in operative time, and potential increases in surgical risks.

Conclusions Bilateral salpingectomy can reduce ovarian cancer risk compared with traditional sterilization; however, research regarding other outcomes is limited. Challenges to implementation include physician concern regarding surgical risks and patient education. Studies investigating patient-based outcomes are lacking.

Relevance Bilateral salpingectomy for surgical sterilization is a reasonable option when patients are appropriately informed. Ovarian cancer risk reduction should be one of several factors considered when patients choose a surgical sterilization method.

Target Audience Obstetricians and gynecologists, family physicians

Learning Objectives After completing this activity, the learner should be better able to discuss the epidemiology and etiology of ovarian cancer and its subtypes, describe the risks and benefits of risk-reducing bilateral salpingectomy at the time of surgical sterilization, and identify challenges associated with the widespread adoption of risk-reducing salpingectomy.

*Resident Physician, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill; †Assistant Clinical Professor, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; ‡OBGYN Hospitalist and OBGYN Clerkship Director, WakeMed Health & Hospitals, Raleigh, NC; §Medical Student, Campbell University School of Osteopathic Medicine, Lillington, NC; and ¶Professor, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC

All authors, faculty, and staff in a position to control the content of this CME activity and their spouses/life partners (if any) have disclosed that they have no financial relationships with, or financial interests in, any commercial organizations pertaining to this educational activity.

Correspondence requests to: Matthew Zerden, MD, MPH, WakeMed Health & Hospitals, 10,000 Falls of Neuse, Raleigh, NC 27614. E-mail:

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