Treatments and drugs

By Mayo Clinic Staff

A fertilized egg can't develop normally outside the uterus. To prevent life-threatening complications, the ectopic tissue must be removed.

If the ectopic pregnancy is detected early, an injection of the drug methotrexate is sometimes used to stop cell growth and dissolve existing cells. After the injection, your doctor will monitor your blood for the pregnancy hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG). If the HCG level remains high, you might need another injection of methotrexate.

In other cases, ectopic pregnancy is treated with laparoscopic surgery. In this procedure, a small incision is made in the abdomen, near or in the navel. Then your doctor uses a thin tube equipped with a camera lens and light (laparoscope) to view the area. Other instruments can be inserted into the tube or through other small incisions to remove the ectopic tissue and repair the fallopian tube. If the fallopian tube is significantly damaged, it might need to be removed.

If the ectopic pregnancy is causing heavy bleeding or the fallopian tube has ruptured, you might need emergency surgery through an abdominal incision (laparotomy). In some cases, the fallopian tube can be repaired. Typically, however, a ruptured tube must be removed.

In a few cases, an injection of methotrexate is needed after surgery.

Feb. 09, 2012

You Are ... The Campaign for Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Make a difference today.