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MIGS for infertility: Surgery can address QoL and pathology concerns that ART can’t, remind expert surgeons at AAGL 2016


Although patients have more assisted reproductive techniques (ART) available in recent years, management of infertility through minimally invasive surgical avenues can confront quality of life (QoL) and pathology concerns with birth rates equal to those with ART. This was a main takeaway in a packed ballroom in Orlando, Florida, at the 45th Global Congress of the AAGL. In this session, G. David Adamson, MD, brought together 3 top minimally invasive gynecologic surgeons to discuss clinical decisions in the overall and specific surgical management of: endometriomas and endometriosis, including deeply infiltrating disease; pelvic adhesions; distal tubal injury/occlusion; and proximal tubal occlusion by hysteroscopy.

Tommaso Falcone, MD, maintained that many patients (up to 85%) have pain with endometriomas, and addressing QoL for these women, with surgery versus managing their infertility only with in vitro fertilization (IVF), is an important consideration. Dr. Adamson noted that, “although there are no RCT data to guide management of endometriomas, we do have reasonable data to counsel patients on surgery versus IVF, with clinical considerations including patient age, presence of pain, and size of the endometrioma.”

Antonio Gargiulo, MD, advised attendees that when counseling patients on the role of laparoscopy in adhesiolysis to consider (1) that adhesions interfere with gamete and embryo transplant, (2) retrospective data from a small study show a positive effect of adhesiolysis in infertility, and (3) that the effect is dependent on the ASRM Adhesion Score. Regarding laparoscopy for distal tubal inclusion, he noted that case selection is important, as surgery can restore anatomic integrity but not functional integrity. In addition, he pointed out that neosalpingectomy before IVF should be considered in young women with mild hydrosalpinges when male factor infertility is present.

For proximal tubal occlusion, Dr. Gargiulo noted that hysteroscopy catheterization has diagnostic and therapeutic value, with contraindications including infection, inflammation, male factor infertility, and prior tubal surgery.

“Surgeons must offer and understand ART alternatives so that they can offer patient-centered choices,” said Dr. Gargiulo.

Finally, when does Dr. Leila Adamyan of the Federal State Institution Research Center for Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Perinatology of the V.I. Kulakov Russian Federation perform myomectomy before IVF? In the presence of:

  • submucosal myoma
  • myoma greater than 4 cm in size
  • multiple myoma.

When sarcoma is suspected, she advises the use of endobags.

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