A Midlands infertility specialist has called for greater awareness of a simple treatment for women with blocked fallopian tubes who could avoid the expense, downtime and invasion of IVF treatment. Consultant gynaecologist Dr Spyros Papaioannou has long been championing selective salpingography and tubal catheterisation, a fast and effective treatment now being offered at Spire Parkway Hospital in Solihull – which is one of just a handful in the country to offer this treatment.
According to Dr Papaioannou, whilst selective salpingography and tubal catheterisation is not a new treatment, it is little known not only by the general public but also among GPs – which has led to it not being widely available either on the NHS or privately as there aren’t many practitioners who are trained in carrying out this procedure.
Dr Papaioannou said: “The usual route for women suffering with fertility problems due to blocked tubes is to send them for IVF, without investigation into solutions such as selective salpingography and tubal catheterisation. This means there is low take-up of the treatment that could be a much cheaper and easier solution for women whose tubes are blocked at the point they join the uterus. I have completed many research papers on this subject and procedure and it is an area I am passionate about.”
The treatment involves a catheter being introduced into the cervix and to the fallopian tube. A solution is injected to flush the fallopian tube, which is visible under X-ray. For more stubborn blockages, a ‘wire’ like instrument can be used to clear debris where the solution hasn’t managed to flush it.
One person who has already benefitted from the introduction of the procedure at Spire Parkway Hospital is 37-year-old Kathryn England, who had been trying for a baby for six years before recently becoming pregnant within three months of having selective salinography and tubal catheterisation. Kathryn, an RAF pilot, had two cycles of IVF.
She said: “The most frustrating thing about my fertility problems was the split opinion of medics as to the cause, following various exploratory procedures. After two unsuccessful cycles of IVF and so much mixed opinion, I really had been through the mill emotionally and physically. It was a chance mention of the treatment by a consultant I saw following my second unsuccessful IVF treatment that led to me looking into it.
“Within three months of having this procedure with Dr Papaioannou I am thankfully pregnant and can’t believe I wasn’t informed about this sooner. I’d like other women to know this is an option so that they don’t go first to the financial expense of IVF, which can be devastating when it fails” she added.
In addition to his work at Spire Parkway, Dr Papaioannou has been a Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at the Heart of England Foundation NHS Trust since March 2004. He has also been an Honorary Senior Lecturer at the University of Birmingham.
He concluded: “The great thing about this treatment is not only that is can be done in just half an hour as an outpatient procedure, but the cost is substantially lower than IVF. We need to change the culture of women automatically being sent for IVF who could benefit from this treatment.”
For further information about selective salpingography and tubal catheterisation, or any other treatment offered at Spire Parkway Hospital, visit www.spireparkway.com or call our patient treatment advisor on 0121 704 5550.