It is a pregnancy outside of the uterus.
It is often located within the fallopian tube. If not recognized in a timely fashion, the pregnancy will grow larger and could rupture. Such a rupture could lead to massive internal bleeding and death.
An ectopic pregnancy is detected by a series of blood tests to see whether your hormone levels, known as Beta HCG, are rising, staying level or decreasing over time. A transvaginal ultrasound, also known as a sonogram, is also used to evaluate where the pregnancy is.
Ectopic pregnancies are treated in multiple ways.
Depending on the age of the fetus, a medication known as methotrexate may be given.
From a surgical standpoint there are usually two main ways to treat an ectopic pregnancy:
1. Remove the pregnancy from the tube, which is known as a salpingostomy or
2. Remove the fallopian tube, which is known as a salpingectomy.
These surgeries can be done either laparoscopically or with an open surgery known as a laparotomy.