Ectopic pregnancy

Our approach

When it comes to an ectopic pregnancy, our experts are relentless about perfecting minimally invasive surgical treatments. Due to the results and experience of our surgeons, we are certified by the Center of Excellence in Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery (COEMIG). This means that we have mastered the tools necessary to improve the diagnosis and treatment of ectopic pregnancy. 

Overview

An ectopic pregnancy happens when an embryo attaches itself somewhere outside of the uterus. Typically, ectopic pregnancies occur in the fallopian tubes, which carry eggs from the ovaries to the uterus. An ectopic pregnancy occurs in 1 out of every 50 pregnancies. Unfortunately, ending the pregnancy is the only option. An ectopic pregnancy that isn’t treated quickly could lead to a ruptured fallopian tube, which would cause severe pain and possibly internal bleeding if left untreated.

Causes and risk factors

Factors that could contribute to an ectopic pregnancy include:

  • Infection of the fallopian tube
  • Previous ectopic pregnancy
  • Scar tissue from a previous surgical procedure
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease
  • Multiple abortions
  • Smoking
  • Fertility treatments/medications 

Symptoms

Although you could experience the common signs and symptoms of a normal pregnancy, the following symptoms may signify an ectopic pregnancy:

  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding
  • Weakness, dizziness
  • Sharp or stabbing pain in the pelvis, abdomen, shoulder or neck 

If you experience sharp pain or bleeding that lasts more than a few minutes, you should contact your doctor immediately. 

Diagnosis

Diagnosis and testing methods for an ectopic pregnancy include:

  • Pelvic exam
  • Ultrasound
  • Measurement of hCG levels (hormone produced during pregnancy) 

Treatment options

Treatment options for an ectopic pregnancy include:

  • Medication — Depending on your current state, your doctor may give you an injection of methotrexate, a medication that stops cells from growing. If diagnosed in early stages, most ectopic pregnancies can be treated with methotrexate.
  • Surgery — Our experts perform this procedure with minimally invasive surgical techniques, such as laparoscopy or robotic surgery. Robot-assisted surgery involves the removal of an ectopic pregnancy via small robotic instruments controlled by your surgeon. The most common form of surgery for an ectopic pregnancy is laparoscopy, which involves your doctor inserting a thin, flexible instrument into your lower abdomen to remove the ectopic pregnancy. Both of these surgical procedures are associated with a shorter recovery time, smaller incisions and less scarring.