Also called “getting tubes tied” or “tubal”, tubal ligation is the procedure where the tubes are severed and closed, so an egg cannot be fertilized. A form of female sterilization, tubal ligation is a reversible procedure, which is called tubal reversal.
How are the fallopian tubes closed?
The fallopian tubes are closed by sealing them with a clip or ring, tying them together, or by cauterization (burning them using heat or a mild electric current).
What is the purpose of tubal ligation surgery?
Tubal ligation is done as a form of permanent birth control. The procedure is usually only done when the woman has several children and does not wish to become pregnant in the future. However, some women regret this decision and later wish to conceive. For these women, a tubal reversal is an option.
What is tubal ligation reversal?
Also called tubal reanastomosis, tubal reversal is surgery to untie, reopen, or reconnect a woman’s fallopian tubes so she may get pregnant. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, women younger than 30 years of age are more likely to regret having a tubal ligation procedure.
Who is a candidate for tubal reversal surgery?
Your doctor will consider several factors before deciding if tubal reversal is right for you. These factors are:
- Your age
- Your overall health
- The health of your female reproductive system (remaining fallopian tubes, uterus, and ovaries)
Good candidates for tubal reversal are women who only had small sections of the fallopian tubes removed, those whose tubes were closed using the clip or ring method, and women younger than age 40 years.
What can I expect before surgery?
Before undergoing a tubal reversal procedure, the doctor will ask you several questions. These include:
- Why did you want your tubes tied?
- When did you undergo tubal ligation?
- Before your tubal procedure, did you get pregnant, and if so, was it a healthy pregnancy?
- Did you or do you have fibroids, endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, or other gynecological conditions?
What can I expect before the surgery?
Before tubal reversal surgery, the doctor will conduct a physical examination and assess your partner to see if pregnancy can be achieved after the procedure. The assessment will include diagnostic imaging and laboratory tests to see if the ovaries are functioning and normal. A hysterosalpinogram (HSG) is done to check the length and function of the fallopian tubes. For the male partner, a semen analysis and sperm count are done to assess fertility problems.
How is the tubal reversal procedure performed?
After you sign a consent form, the doctor gives you general anesthesia (put to sleep). During the procedure, a small incision is made at the belly button. A small, lighted scope (laparoscope) is inserted into the pelvis, allowing the doctor to view the fallopian tubes. After determining if or not the procedure is doable, the doctor makes a small incision at the lower pubic region, near the hairline. Small instruments are used to remove the rings or clips on the tubes, and to reconnect the ends of the tubes to the uterus. After removing all instruments, the incisions are closed with sutures.
Does the tubal reversal work?
After the tubal ligation reversal procedure, success rates for pregnancy vary from 40% to 85%. The success depends on several factors, such as:
- The woman’s age
- The type of tubal ligation procedure the woman had previously
- The amount of scar tissue in the pelvic region
- The length of the remaining fallopian tubes
- If or not the fallopian tubes function properly