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The importance of follicular flushing in optimizing oocyte retrieval.

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: To critically evaluate the use of follicular flushing during oocyte retrieval.

RECENT FINDINGS: The latest meta-analysis evaluating follicular flushing does not favour its use over single aspiration. The randomized controlled trials (RCTs) included, however, are characterized by significant heterogeneity regarding the population analysed, the needle type and lumen used, the aspiration pressure applied and the number of flushing attempts performed. More importantly, information regarding the flow rate used for aspiration is scarce. The only RCT employing a constant flow rate between single aspiration and follicular flushing in women with monofollicular development, suggests that a higher number of oocytes is retrieved after follicular flushing.

SUMMARY: In order to eliminate clinical heterogeneity that might obscure the detection of the true effect of follicular flushing, randomization to single aspiration and follicular flushing should occur within the same patient. This can be achieved by randomly allocating each patient's ovary to either single aspiration or follicular flushing, maintaining similar flow rates between the groups compared.Given the importance of maximizing the number of oocytes retrieved from a given number of follicles developed, the conduction of properly designed RCTs evaluating follicular flushing is certainly required.

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