Tubal Ligation vs Salpingectomy: Which Is Best?

Name something better than curing cancer? The answer is never getting cancer in the first place. It has been discovered that removing the fallopian tubes may prevent the development of ovarian cancer. Let’s take a deeper dive into tubal ligation vs. salpingectomy and which is best.

Ovarian Cancer Facts

  • Ovarian cancer is the second most common gynecologic malignancy.
  • Ovarian cancer is the leading cause of death from cancer of the female reproductive system.
  • From 2010-2019 the number of new cases of ovarian cancer declined slightly each year. There was also a slight decrease in death from ovarian cancer during 2011-2020.
  • Women with a family history of ovarian cancer or women who have certain gene mutations like BRCA1 or BRCA2 have a higher risk than women who do not have a family history or have not inherited a gene mutation.
  • It is hard to find ovarian cancer early since there may not be any symptoms. When signs do appear, the cancer is often advanced and too late for a cure.

What Is a Salpingectomy?

Salpingectomy is the surgical removal of both fallopian tubes. The fallopian tubes are the tunnel through which eggs move from the ovaries to the uterus for implantation. This surgery can be performed simultaneously with other abdominal surgeries like removing the gallbladder. This is known as opportunistic salpingectomy.

When Is a Salpingectomy Recommended?

There are several reasons a salpingectomy be recommended by your doctor, including:

This would be recommended if you have an ectopic pregnancy. This is when a fertilized egg is growing outside the uterus. It cannot successfully grow and eventually the fallopian tubes will rupture causing life-threatening bleeding.

Another common reason is for permanent birth control.

Tubal Ligation vs Salpingectomy

Tubal ligation is known colloquially as having your tubes tied, in which your doctor clamps or ties the fallopian tubes closed preventing pregnancy.

While both tubal ligation and salpingectomy are effective in preventing pregnancy, recently it has been found that salpingectomy has the benefit of ovarian cancer prevention.

Reducing the Risk of Ovarian Cancer

There is no definitive way to prevent ovarian cancer, but there are now ways to lower the risk. It was thought ovarian cancer began in the ovaries, but research has recently shown that some forms of cancer actually can start in the fallopian tubes via the projections at the end of the tubes. The cancer cells then spread to the ovaries and also to the peritoneum, the tissue surrounding the organs in the abdomen.

If a woman has completed her family or wants no more children, she can have her fallopian tubes removed. A woman who has a higher risk of ovarian cancer can also have her ovaries removed at the same time. This will necessarily bring on menopause. The decision should be made in consultation with your provider at Women’s Care.  Having fallopian tubes removed is becoming the standard of care for women aged 35 to 50 who do not want any, or more, children.

The bottom line is that salpingectomy is recommended for all women regardless of their risk factors for developing ovarian cancer. All women can benefit.

Women who have average risks and no genetic abnormalities are recommended to have an opportunistic salpingectomy to decrease the risk of developing ovarian cancer.

There is ongoing research as to whether just removing the fallopian tubes will prevent ovarian cancer for those with a higher risk.

Contact Women’s Care OBGYN at (913) 384-4990 to schedule a consultation to discuss salpingectomy at one of our offices in Overland Park and Shawnee Mission.