Tubal Ligation Reversal

It is possible to block or close a woman's fallopian tubes through a surgical procedure called tubal ligation. The surgery ensures that no egg comes out from the ovaries for sperm to fertilize. Also called female sterilization surgery, it is one of many ways used today to prevent pregnancy. Your doctor may choose to close your fallopian tubes in many different ways – they may tie the tubes together, use a ring to seal them, or burn them together with the help of a mild electric current.

Although tubal ligation is a permanent form of birth control, some women later decide not to continue with it and look for tubal ligation reversal. Also called tubal reversal or tuba reanastomosis, it provides women with a chance to become pregnant once again.

What Is Tubal Ligation Reversal?

The procedure involves performing a surgery to restore your fertility if you've had a tubal ligation surgery in the past. Your doctor will reconnect the blocked segments of your fallopian tubes to allow eggs to move through the tubes – this will also allow sperm to travel up and fertilize an egg. The success of this procedure depends on the damage done to your fallopian tubes during a tubal ligation procedure. For instance, it is possible to reverse the procedure if you have rings or clips used during a tubal ligation procedure. It is usually impossible to reverse if the original procedure caused scarring to the fallopian tubes. In some cases, when reversal isn't possible, some women choose in vitro fertilization (IVF) to become pregnant.

Can I Have Tubal Ligation Reversal?

As mentioned already, there are situations when a reversal procedure isn't recommended. Your healthcare provider will pay attention to different factors to determine the success rate of your surgery. They often consider your body mass index, age, and the type of tubal ligation you have. They also consider the extent of damage to the fallopian tubes. Before recommending a reversal procedure, your healthcare provider will also check other fertility factors, such as egg and sperm quality. In other words, it is important to have sufficient amount of healthy tube available for a tubal reversal to be successful. In addition, it is not a good idea to for a reversal if your egg quality isn't suitable for fertilization.

How Is Tubal Ligation Reversal Performed?

Before the procedure, your healthcare provider will conduct a completely physical exam and confirm if it is possible for you to become pregnant after a tubal reversal. They may take blood tests and use imaging tests as well to check the state of your ovaries. They will also ask for a test called HSG to know if your fallopian tubes are still functional.

You will be in an outpatient center or hospital during your surgery. Your surgeon will perform the procedure under general anesthesia and place a laparoscope in your body through your belly button to have a closer look at your fallopian tubes. Once they confirm the surgery is possible, they will make a small incision near your pubic hairline. They will use microscopic instruments to remove any rings or clips used to block your tubes and then reconnect the tubes. The procedure usually takes a couple of hours or so.

How Effective Is Tubal Ligation Reversal? Is It Safe?

The procedure used to block your fallopian tubes in the first place will have an impact on how successful the reversal procedure turns out to be. It is, however, important to bear in mind that even after the success of your procedure, you may still not be able to become pregnant. So many factors, including your age and body weight, will determine if you can become pregnant or not. Success rates can be 80% in some cases, but they can be as low as 40% depending on certain circumstances.

Tubal ligation is generally a safe yet permanent way of birth control, but it involves making small cuts on your abdomen, so there will always be a risk of bleeding, infection, and injury to nearby organs. Moreover, if you manage to conceive after a reversal, there are chances that your pregnancy will be ectopic in which the fertilized eggs don't implant inside the uterus.

Taking Care After the Reversal

It is important to take special care after you've undergone a tubal ligation reversal surgery. Recovery time usually depends on the method used for ligation and reversal. You will have to stay at the hospital for a couple of days, but in some cases, you only require an overnight hospital stay. Some women return home the same day after the surgery is complete. You should listen to what your doctor says about taking care after the reversal.

  • Be sure to take your painkillers exactly how your doctor has prescribed.
  • Don't take aspirin for pain relief after tubal reversal because aspirin is a blood thinner and promotes bleeding.
  • Don't take a bath for at least 48 hours of your surgery.
  • Be sure to dry your incision carefully after bathing – you may pat dry with towel only.
  • Take some rest and avoid heavy lifting for a couple of weeks.
  • Don't have a sexual intercourse for at least a couple of weeks after your surgery.
  • Go see your healthcare provider after a week to ensure everything is on the right track.
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