Merck Manual

Please confirm that you are a health care professional

honeypot link

Tubal Dysfunction and Pelvic Lesions


Robert W. Rebar

, MD, Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine

Last full review/revision Sep 2020| Content last modified Sep 2020
Click here for Patient Education
Topic Resources

Tubal dysfunction is fallopian tube obstruction or epithelial dysfunction that impairs oocyte, zygote, and/or sperm motility; pelvic lesions are structural abnormalities that can impede fertilization or implantation.

Etiology of Tubal Dysfunction and Pelvic Lesions

Tubal dysfunction can result from

Pelvic lesions that can impede fertility include

Diagnosis of Tubal Dysfunction and Pelvic Lesions

  • Hysterosalpingography or sonohysterography

  • Rarely laparoscopy

All infertility evaluations include assessment of the fallopian tubes.

Most often, hysterosalpingography (fluoroscopic imaging of the uterus and fallopian tubes after injection of a radiopaque agent into the uterus) is done 2 to 5 days after cessation of menstrual flow. Hysterosalpingography rarely indicates tubal patency falsely but indicates tubal obstruction falsely in about 15% of cases. This test can also detect some pelvic and intrauterine lesions. For unexplained reasons, fertility in women appears to be enhanced after hysterosalpingography if the test result is normal. Thus, if hysterosalpingography results are normal, additional diagnostic tests of tubal function can be delayed for several cycles in young women.

Sonohysterography (injection of isotonic fluid through the cervix into the uterus during ultrasonography) is done to detect or further evaluate intrauterine and tubal lesions.

Rarely, laparoscopy is done to further evaluate tubal lesions.

Hysteroscopy may be done to further evaluate intrauterine lesions

Diagnosis and treatment are often done simultaneously during laparoscopy or hysteroscopy.

Treatment of Tubal Dysfunction and Pelvic Lesions

  • Laparoscopy and/or hysteroscopy

  • Assisted reproductive techniques

During laparoscopy, pelvic adhesions can be lysed, or pelvic endometriosis can be fulgurated or ablated by laser. During hysteroscopy, adhesions can be lysed, and submucous fibroids and intrauterine polyps can be removed. Pregnancy rates after laparoscopic treatment of pelvic abnormalities are low (typically no more than 25%), but hysteroscopic treatment of intrauterine abnormalities is often successful, with a pregnancy rate of about 60 to 70%.

Click here for Patient Education
NOTE: This is the Professional Version. CONSUMERS: Click here for the Consumer Version
quiz link

Test your knowledge

Take a Quiz!