An ectopic pregnancy is one which the fertilized egg implants itself outside the uterus and starts to develop. An ectopic pregnancy will never develop into a normal baby, and it will not survive a transplant into the womb. This type of pregnancy needs to be terminated as soon as possible to save the mother from developing severe complications.
The ectopic pregnancy treatment depends on the discovery of the pregnancy. If it is detected early enough, it can be terminated very easily by simply injecting the mother with methotrexate. This disbands the egg which was fertilized and the mother’s body simply absorbs it. This procedure is non-surgical and has the added benefit of not damaging the fallopian tube. If however, the pregnancy is discovered at a later stage, and the fallopian tube has been affected then other surgical methods need to be used.
Depending on the amount of damage to the fallopian tube there are two possible methods of approach. One type of treatment is known as laparoscopy. A majority of ectopic pregnancies can be dissolved through this type of surgery. It also places less stress on the patient, is cheaper, and does not require hospital stay. In this surgery a thin, lighted tube is placed through a small cut in the belly and the unwanted tissue can be removed.
If however the ectopic pregnancy is discovered very late and its development has caused the fallopian tube to burst or is too large to remove it otherwise, then a laparotomy may be required. In this surgery a larger incision is made which is about four to five inches across in the lower part of the abdomen. Usually this cut is made low enough that it remains hidden.
Patients requiring this surgery have to stay in the hospital anywhere from three to five days and need to limit their activities for up to six weeks. After this type of surgery the doctor will monitor the patient’s hCG levels for about twelve weeks. If these levels are high then it means that all of the ectopic tissue was not removed and the patient may need methotrexate injection.