An appendectomy is a common surgical procedure used to treat inflammation of the appendix, commonly called appendicitis.
One of the most common procedures in the U.S., up to 1 in 14 people will have the procedure in their lifetime.
A long-held belief among fertility doctors was that an appendectomy could cause infertility in females. It was believed that the abdominal surgery could lead to infertility because scar tissue could stick to the fallopian tubes, impeding ovulation.
However, a new study has found that appendectomies do not lead to infertility. Rather, they found a small protective effect in women of childbearing age.
Researchers reviewed medical histories from more than 76,000 women who had undergone appendectomy. Up to 39% of the women were able to become pregnant within the 10 years following their procedure.
Interestingly, the pregnancy rate for women not having the procedure was 28%.
The authors caution that due to the retrospective nature of the study, they can not conclude that appendectomy boosts fertility. However, it is now clear that women undergoing the procedure are not more infertile.