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. Â 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. Â 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. Â 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. Â However, it is now clear that women undergoing the procedure are not more infertile.