- Is It Reversible?
- Pregnancy After Reversal
Is tubal sterilization reversible?
Tubal ligation is technically reversible. However, the procedure is complicated and the results are not guaranteed. Though it is possible to reverse a tubal ligation, it is a major surgery that doesn’t always work, it is rarely covered by insurance and it is not recommended. The success rate of tubal sterilization reversal depends on the method used for tubal ligation and how much of the fallopian tube is damaged after tubal ligation. Women who have had a tubal ligation reversed have a higher than average risk of a fertilized egg implanting in the fallopian tube (ectopic pregnancy) rather than in the uterus. This can become a life-threatening emergency.
Other considerations about having a tubal ligation reversed include the following
- The surgery takes several hours and most women are hospitalized for at least 2 days.
- There is no guarantee that the patient will be able to become pregnant after having the reversal.
- Surgeons usually refuse to perform the surgery if they think there is little chance that it will be successful.
- About half of the women who request reversal are turned down.
How is tubal sterilization reversal performed?
Before the procedure, the doctor will likely suggest getting a complete physical exam. The exam may include blood and imaging tests to make sure the ovaries are normal. A hysterosalpingogram (HSG) may be done to check the length and function of the remaining fallopian tubes. The doctor may also suggest some tests for the woman’s partner, such as a sperm count and semen analysis, to rule out any fertility problems. If it turns out that tubal ligation may be reversed, the doctor specifies a date.
The procedure is usually done under general anesthesia and takes about 2 to 3 hours. The patient’s vitals are monitored throughout the procedure.
- The surgeon then makes two small cuts on the belly and cuts out the sealed portion of the fallopian tubes and reattaches the ends carefully with very fine dissolvable surgical sutures.
- In a few conditions, the surgeon places a small lighted scope, called a laparoscope, through the incisions of the belly button and into the pelvic area. This lets the doctor look at the fallopian tubes and decide if reversal surgery is possible.
- If the doctor decides it’s okay to do the reversal, they may then make a small surgical cut called a "bikini cut" near the pubic hairline.
- Microscopic instruments attached to the end of the laparoscope let the doctor remove any clips or rings that were used to block tubes and reconnect the ends of the tubes to the uterus using very small stitches.
- The cuts are closed and the patient may be monitored closely.
- Patients usually require at least 15 to 30 days to recover after the procedure depending on their age. During the healing process, the patient may be placed on painkillers, antibiotics and vitamin supplements.
All surgery has some risk. The complications of tubal ligation reversal include
- Anesthesia reactions, such as vomiting, headache and dizziness
- Excess bleeding
- Damage to nearby organs
- The tubal ligation reversal also gives a woman a higher risk of ectopic pregnancy, which is a life-threatening condition where a fertilized egg grows outside the womb.
- Failed surgery
- Sometimes, the area where a woman has had the tubal ligation reversal forms scar tissue and blocks the fallopian tubes again.
What are the chances of getting pregnant after a tubal sterilization reversal procedure?
The chances of getting pregnant after a tubal ligation reversal varies from woman to woman. The patient’s health and age are prominent factors, which are taken into consideration before recommending surgery. In general, a reversal of tubal ligation is successful 40% to 85% of the time. Most women with a successful reversal get pregnant within the first year.
What are the alternatives to a tubal sterilization reversal procedure?
In vitro fertilization (IVF) is an alternative to tubal sterilization reversal. In this procedure, the egg and sperm are fertilized outside the womb in a laboratory dish. The fertilized egg (embryo) is later placed into the patient’s womb. IVF is also an option if a patient doesn’t get pregnant after tubal ligation reversal surgery. Surrogacy may also be considered.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Top Is Tubal Sterilization Reversible Related Articles
Birth Control OptionsBirth control is available in a variety of methods and types. The method of birth control varies from person to person, and their preferences to either become pregnant or not. Examples of barrier methods include barrier methods (sponge, spermicides, condoms), hormonal methods (pill, patch), surgical sterilization (tubal ligation, vasectomy), natural methods, and the morning after pill. Side effects and risks of each birth control option should be reviewed prior to using any birth control method.
Choosing Your Birth Control MethodWhich birth control option is right for you? Discover birth control methods such as birth control pills, birth control shot, implant, patch and more. Learn about birth control side effects and effectiveness.
Birth Control Quiz: Test Your Medical IQWhat is the best form of birth control? Take this quiz to find out about hormonal, surgical, barrier, and natural methods!
How Does Tubal Sterilization Work?Tubal sterilization is also called tubal ligation. It is a form of permanent birth control for women. Tubal sterilization works to permanently prevent pregnancy by cutting and tying or clipping the fallopian tubes, hence preventing the egg from traveling from the ovaries through the fallopian tubes. It also blocks the sperm from entering the fallopian tubes to fertilize the egg.
Birth Control: Surgical SterilizationSurgical sterilization is considered a permanent method of contraception. In certain cases, sterilization can be reversed, but this is not guaranteed. For this reason, sterilization is meant for men and women who do not intend to have children in the future. Types of surgical sterilization include: vasectomy, tubal ligation, STOP (selective tubal occlusion procedure), and hysterectomy.
What Is the Best Form of Birth Control?What's "best" among birth control methods differs from person to person. What's right for one person may not be right for others. And a person’s needs may also change over time.
Which Birth Control Has Least Side Effects?No form of birth control is free of side effects, but there are some that have the least noticeable ones.