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Opportunistic salpingectomy appears to reduce the risk of ovarian cancer.

Women at high risk of ovarian cancer secondary to genetic predisposition (BRCA gene mutation, Lynch syndrome) still are recommended to undergo bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy after completion of child bearing or by age 40-45 years depending on the specific mutation and family history. For a woman not at risk of hereditary-related ovarian cancer, opportunistic salpingectomy would appear to reduce the risk of ovarian cancer.

Unlike bilateral tubal ligation, which has a greater protective risk of endometrioid and clear-cell carcinoma of the ovary, bilateral salpingectomy appears to further reduce risk of serous carcinoma of the ovaries as well. A Swedish population-based cohort study involving over a quarter of a million women undergoing benign surgery noted a statistically significant decrease in ovarian cancer risk with salpingectomy. The degree of risk reduction was greater when bilateral salpingectomy was performed. (1) Moreover, a Danish case-control study of over 13,000 women with ovarian cancer demonstrated a 42% decrease in epithelial carcinoma risk following bilateral salpingectomy. (2)

Bilateral salpingectomy does not appear to decrease ovarian function. A study by Venturella et al. that compared 91 women undergoing bilateral salpingectomy with 95 women with mesosalpinx removal within the tubes during salpingectomy observed no significant difference in change of ovarian reserve. (3) Moreover, Kotlyar et al. performed a literature review and noted similar findings. (4) Finally, in another study by Venturella et al. no effects were noted 3-5 years following prophylactic bilateral salpingectomy on ovarian reserve in women undergoing total laparoscopic hysterectomy in their late reproductive years, compared with healthy women with intact uterus and adnexa. (5)

Introduction of opportunistic salpingectomy secondary to potential ovarian cancer reduction has seen increased adoption over the years. A U.S. study of 400,000 hysterectomies performed for benign indications from 1998 to 2011 showed an increased annual rate of bilateral salpingectomy of 8% (1998-2008) and a 24% annual increase (2008-2011). (6) A retrospective study of 12,143 hysterectomies performed within a large U.S. health care system reported an increased rate of salpingectomy from 15% in 2011 to 45% in 2012 to 73% in 2014. (7)

Because the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the AAGL recommend vaginal hysterectomy as the approach of choice when feasible, tips and tricks on opportunistic salpingectomy form an important topic.

For this edition of the Master Class in Gynecologic Surgery, I have enlisted the assistance of Rosarme M. Kho, MD. Dr. Kho's academic and clinical work focuses on advancing vaginal and minimally invasive surgery. Dr. Kho is a strong advocate of the vaginal approach for benign hysterectomy and is recognized for her passion for bringing vaginal surgery back into the armamentarium of the gynecologic surgeon. Dr. Kho is published in the field of gynecologic surgery, having authored many peer-reviewed manuscripts and book chapters. She is currently an associate editor for the Journal of Minimally Invasive Gynecology.


Dr. Miller is a clinical associate professor at the University of Illinois in Chicago and past president of the AAGL. He is a reproductive endocrinologist and minimally invasive gynecologic surgeon in metropolitan Chicago and the director of minimally invasive gynecologic surgery at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital, Park Ridge, III. He has no disclosures relevant to this Master Class.


(1.) J Natl Cancer Inst. 2015 Jan 27. doi: 10.1093/jnci/dju410.

(2.) Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2015 Jan;94(l):86 94.

(3.) Fertil Steril. 2015 Nov;104(5):1332-9.

(4.) J Minim Invasive Gynecol. 2017 May-Jun;24(4):563-78.

(5.) J Minim Invasive Gynecol. 2017 Jan l;24(l):145-50.

(6.) Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2015 Nov;213(5):713.el-13.

(7.) Obstet Gynecol. 2016 Aug:128(2):277-83.
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Title Annotation:Master Class
Author:Miller, Charles E.
Publication:OB GYN News
Date:Mar 1, 2019
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