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Tubal Ligation Reversal

Tubal ligation is surgery to close or block a woman's fallopian tubes so eggs released from the ovaries cannot enter the uterus and sperm cannot reach the egg. The procedure is done to prevent pregnancy.

Fallopian Tube

It is also called female sterilization surgery, or "getting your tubes tied."  The fallopian tubes may be closed by:

  • Tying the tubes together
  • Sealing them closed using a ring or clip
  • Burning (cauterizing) them together using a mild electric current

Tubal ligation is intended to be a permanent form of birth control. However, some women may regret their decision and later wish to become pregnant. In these cases, surgery to reverse the procedure may be an option. This surgery is called tubal ligation reversal, tubal reanastomosis, or tubal reversal.

What Is Tubal Ligation Reversal?

Tubal ligation reversal is surgery to reopen, untie, or reconnect a woman's fallopian tubes so she can become pregnant.

The surgery is performed on women who previously had their tubes tied. Women younger than age 30 are more likely to regret having their tubes tied, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Other women who often have regrets and wish to pursue tubal reversal surgery include those who decided to have tubal ligation while having marital problems or after being pressured by someone else.

Can I Have Tubal Reversal Surgery?

Your health care provider will consider the following factors before you both decide if tubal reversal is right for you:

  • Your age
  • The type of tubal ligation surgery you had
  • Your overall health and health of your ovaries, uterus, and remaining fallopian tubes, especially their length

Your doctor will also ask you the following questions:

  • When did you have your tubes tied?
  • What type of tubal ligation did you have?
  • Did you get pregnant before having a tubal reversal, and was it a healthy pregnancy?
  • Had you had surgery in the past for endometriosis, fibroids, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), or other gynecological disorders? Surgery can cause scar tissue, which may affect the success of the tubal reversal.

In general, good candidates for tubal reversal are women who had only small parts of their fallopian tubes removed, or whose tubes were closed using rings or clips. Some surgeons say the best candidates for tubal reversal are women younger than age 40 who had sterilization surgery immediately following childbirth, a procedure called postpartum tubal ligation.

Before the Procedure

Before surgery, your health care provider will likely recommend a complete physical exam for you and your partner to determine if pregnancy can be achieved after a tubal reversal. This may include blood and imaging tests to make sure your ovaries are normal. You will need a test called a hysterosalpinogram (HSG), to check the length and function of your remaining fallopian tubes. An HSG can be doing using dye and X-ray or saline and air along with ultrasound.

A sperm count and semen analysis is recommended for a male partner to rule out any infertility problems.

WebMD Medical Reference

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