Things to know about tubal ligation reversal

The Fallopian tubes are patched or reconnected by surgeons during a tubal ligation reversal. The treatment helps a person’s eggs to pass through the tubes and to fertilize into the uterus once again.

This article will discuss who is eligible for the procedure, the rate of success and the risks associated with this operation by the physicians.

Who can have tubal ligation reversal?

The age of a person can affect their eligibility for a reversal of the tubal ligation.
The age of a person can affect their eligibility for a reversal of the tubal ligation.

Not every person wishing a reversal of the tubal ligation is suitable for the procedure.

Other factors that could influence the eligibility of a person for the reversal include:

  • age
  • type of sterilization procedure they underwent
  • when sterilization occurred
  • quality of a person’s eggs

If the reversal of the tubal ligation goes ahead, a person may need general anesthetic. Anyone who is thinking about going through surgery should be aware of the risks.

Other factors which could make somebody more susceptible to complications include:

  • obesity
  • older age
  • smoking
  • sleep apnea

The procedure

The person’s likely to have a detailed conversation with a doctor before the operation.

The health care provider will take a complete medical history and explain the risks. They may also suggest testing the individual’s eggs to verify that pregnancy after surgery would be possible.

The surgeon typically uses a camera and robotic tools to enter the body through a tiny cut in the abdomen during the procedure. They may sometimes make a bigger incision and expose the ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus.

The surgeon will then remove any clips or blockages and cut off the fallopian tubes from any damaged tissue. We will be using absorbable stitches to patch the holes, which heal over time on their own.

An adult may go home the next day, and for safety reasons should avoid 2 months pregnancy.

The doctor may ask an person to attend a follow-up appointment to ensure that they are well healed.

How much does it cost?

The average cost for the procedure in 2014 was approximately $8,685. The price may vary, or may have changed, though.

Success rate

People who undergo a reversal of the tubal ligation may not get pregnant afterwards.

One study carried out after 27 people undergoing the procedure shows that the pregnancy rate is 55.5%. It also took an average of 9 months for pregnancy to occur following the surgery.

The success rate could depend on a number of factors, including:

  • Age: According to a 2015 study, those who had the surgery before 40 years of age had a 50% chance of delivering a child. The chances halve after a person reaches 40 years old.
  • Weight: According to an older 2003 study, those with a body mass index (BMI) less than or equal to 25 had an 85.4% chance of achieving pregnancy, compared with a 65.9% chance of those with a BMI over 25.
  • Time after sterilization: According to the same 2003 study, those who had the procedure less than 8 years previously had a higher chance of becoming pregnant compared with those who had it more than 8 years ago.

Risk

People who undergo a reversal of the tubal ligation are at an increased risk of developing an ectopic pregnancy. This type of pregnancy occurs when a fertilized egg grows outside the uterus, usually in a tube with fallopia.

As the embryo grows, the Fallopian tube may rupture. This condition is life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention.

One study found that an ectopic pregnancy developed between 4 percent and 8 percent of women who had a sterilization reversal procedure.

Other risks that doctors may associate with having the operation may include:

  • bleeding
  • infection
  • scarring
  • injury to nearby organs

Alternative

The alternative to reversal of the tubal ligation is in vitro fertilization (IVF).

Women who choose this option will take egg-producing medicine that stimulates the ovaries. Doctors then take these out of the body and use sperm from a partner to fertilize them in the laboratory. Then, the doctor inserts the embryos into the uterus.

The entire IVF process bypasses the need for Fallopian tubes.

Another older Belgium study in 2007, which compared both choices, found that reversal of sterilization was typically more effective for females aged 37 and under.

Alternatively, the study suggested that IVF would probably work best for older women.

Summary

Yet reversal of the tubal ligation is not always straightforward. It is not good for all and it does not guarantee fertility.

Success depends on a number of factors, including the age of the woman, the medical history and the type of sterilization they originally underwent.

During the procedure, surgeons use a general anesthetic which always carries risks. Reversal can also increase an individual’s chances of having an ectopic pregnancy.

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