Appendectomy (removal of the appendix) is one of the most common operations in the United States. It is typically performed for an inflammation of the appendix (appendicitis). There have been concerns that the operation itself or the appendicitis may be associated with infertility development in women since they both may cause scars to develop near the fallopian tubes.
A recent article published in a respected medical journal by Wei and colleagues studied pregnancy rates in women who had undergone an appendectomy. They studied the pregnancy rate and outcome of the first pregnancy in women who had a previous appendectomy (study group). These were compared to a similar group of women who did not have a previous appendectomy (control group).
The study showed that the pregnancy rate was 39.3% in the study group and 28.3% in the control group over the time period of the study. Also, a greater percent of women in the study group had previously been pregnant and used oral contraception.
The higher pregnancy rate in the study group may be due to differences in behavior regarding sexual activity rather than infertility. This study is reassuring since it suggests that an appendectomy does not reduce a woman’s chances of becoming pregnant in the future.