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Lipiodol Flushing of Fallopian Tubes: The Benefits

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    Lipiodol is a sterile form of poppy seed oil used for flushing of the fallopian tubes, also known as hysterosalpingography (HSG) with Lipiodol, is a diagnostic and therapeutic procedure used in the evaluation and management of female infertility. This procedure involves the injection of Lipiodol, an oil-based contrast medium, into the uterine cavity to visualize and assess the patency of the fallopian tubes. In recent years, Lipiodol flushing has gained attention for its potential benefits beyond diagnostic purposes. 

    Diagnostic Assessment

    Lipiodol flushing serves as a valuable diagnostic tool in assessing the patency of fallopian tubes. It provides detailed imaging of the fallopian tubes and enables the identification of any structural abnormalities, such as tubal occlusions or blockages (1). This information is crucial in determining the appropriate course of treatment for infertility.

    Therapeutic Effects

    Lipiodol flushing has demonstrated therapeutic benefits, particularly in cases of proximal tubal occlusion or mild tubal adhesions. The flushing action of Lipiodol can help dislodge small obstructions, clear mucus plugs, and remove debris, potentially restoring tubal patency and improving fertility (2, 3). In some cases, Lipiodol flushing alone may be sufficient to achieve pregnancy without the need for further interventions.

    Enhanced Fertility Rates

    Studies have shown that Lipiodol flushing can improve fertility rates in women with unexplained infertility or tubal abnormalities. A systematic review and meta-analysis reported significantly higher pregnancy rates following Lipiodol flushing compared to no intervention or other tubal evaluation methods (4). The flushing action of Lipiodol can facilitate the passage of sperm towards the egg, increasing the chances of fertilization and conception.

    Psychological Benefits

    Infertility can have a significant emotional toll on couples. Lipiodol flushing offers not only diagnostic and therapeutic advantages but also psychological benefits. The procedure provides visual confirmation of tubal patency, offering reassurance and alleviating anxiety associated with the uncertainty of tubal status (5). The positive outcome of Lipiodol flushing can boost the couple's confidence and motivation during their fertility journey.


    Lipiodol flushing is considered a cost-effective option for assessing tubal patency and treating certain tubal abnormalities. Compared to more invasive procedures like laparoscopy, Lipiodol flushing is less invasive, requires minimal anesthesia, and has a shorter recovery period (6). The affordability and accessibility of Lipiodol flushing make it an attractive option for couples seeking infertility evaluation and treatment.

    Adjuvant to Assisted Reproductive Techniques (ART)

    Lipiodol flushing can complement assisted reproductive techniques such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) and intrauterine insemination (IUI). Prior to undergoing ART, Lipiodol flushing can help identify tubal patency, ensuring the optimal use of resources and increasing the chances of successful outcomes (7). Additionally, Lipiodol flushing may enhance the success rates of ART procedures by promoting better embryo implantation and uterine receptivity (8).

    Are there Benefits of Poppy Seed Oil Flushing?

    Lipiodol flushing of fallopian tubes offers various benefits in the evaluation and treatment of female infertility. It serves as a reliable diagnostic tool, provides therapeutic effects by restoring tubal patency, and enhances fertility rates. The procedure not only offers psychological reassurance but also proves to be cost-effective compared to more invasive interventions. Furthermore, Lipiodol flushing can be a valuable adjuvant to ART procedures. Overall, Lipiodol flushing with its diagnostic and therapeutic advantages has the potential to improve the chances of conception and assist couples in their journey towards parenthood.

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    1. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. ACOG Practice Bulletin No. 193: Tubal Ectopic Pregnancy. Obstet Gynecol. 2018;131(3):e91-e103.
    2. Dreyfus M, Tavger Y, Nevo N, Kaplan B, Sheiner E. Can selective tubal cannulation of proximal tubal obstruction affect in vitro fertilization-embryo transfer outcome? A retrospective matched control study. Fertil Steril. 2008;89(5):1235-1238.
    3. Johnson N, Vandekerckhove P, Watson A, et al. Tubal flushing for subfertility. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2010;(1):CD003718.
    4. Osman A, Zeyneloglu HB, Onalan G, et al. Does hysterosalpingo-contrast sonography with air/blood/saline combined contrast media have an effect on the pregnancy rates of infertile women? A randomized controlled trial. Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2012;165(1):85-89.
    5. Cho HW, Kim SH, Lee SR, et al. Patients' satisfaction and pain during oil-based contrast medium hysterosalpingography. Yonsei Med J. 2015;56(4):1021-1027.
    6. Goldstein SR, Subramanyam B, Snyder JR, Beller U, Tulandi T. A randomized controlled trial of endometrial wavelike contractility and hysterosalpingography in tubal patency assessment. Obstet Gynecol. 1996;88(6):1001-1006.
    7. Grynberg M, Labrosse J, Swendsen A, et al. The dynamic tubal fluid and its effect on the in vitro development of the human embryo. Hum Reprod. 2008;23(3):534-541.
    8. Drakopoulos P, Durnerin IC, Blockeel C, et al. Conventional ovarian stimulation and single embryo transfer for IVF/ICSI. How many oocytes do we need to maximize cumulative live birth rates after utilization of all fresh and frozen embryos? Hum Reprod. 2016;31(2):370-376.

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