Want to "Untie Your Tubes"? Here's What's Involved

One of the biggest decisions a family makes centers around the number of children they wish to produce. Once a couple has reached their preferred number of offspring, they will probably want to do what they can to keep that number constant and not have any surprises.

Tubal ligation, also known as “getting your tubes tied,” is designed to keep a woman from ever getting pregnant again. The procedure is both popular and successful. About 1 in 4 American women opt to tie their tubes to end their childbearing years, and 99.5% of the procedures are successful at preventing pregnancy. 

However, sometimes a couple may change their mind about having more children. When this happens, a tubal reversal may be the answer. In this blog, Dr. John Macey explains what’s involved in a tubal reversal.

On tubal ligation

For tubal ligation, the fallopian tubes are tied and sealed, either by tying them off or cauterizing them. During the next ovulation, your ovaries release an egg as they normally would, but the egg doesn’t make it very far. When intercourse occurs, the sperm and the egg remain on different sides of the sealed fallopian tubes, thus preventing them from meeting, and thus preventing pregnancy.

How to determine if you’re a good candidate for a tubal reversal

Unfortunately, not everyone is a good candidate for tubal reversal. You’ll need to match a set of criteria to determine if your tubal ligation can potentially be reversed. Dr. Macey will look at the following to determine if a reversal is the right move: 

If you’ve had surgeries to treat endometriosis, fibroids, pelvic inflammatory disease, or other gynecological disorders, this may also affect your candidacy. If anything is unclear, Dr. Macey may perform a pelvic ultrasound to ensure accuracy in his assessment.

On success

The type of ligation is key here. If your ligation was done with clips or rings, a reversal will likely be more successful. Reversals done on tubes that have been cauterized are often less successful. Furthermore, reversals can’t be performed if certain ligation methods were used, such as Essure® or Adiana®. 

Age can also play a role in success. Women under age 40 typically see a successful reversal 50-80% of the time, depending on the ligation type. For women over age 40, that percentage can drop as low as 25%.

Reversal surgery

Tubal ligation reversal is an outpatient surgical procedure done under general anesthesia. The procedure is performed laparoscopically. This means the incisions will be small and the recovery time will be quicker than if performed with open surgery.

Depending on the type of ligation you had, Dr. Macey will take one of two paths. If your tubes were tied with clips or rings, he’ll remove these devices and reconnect the ends of the tubes to your uterus with stitches. If cauterization was used, he’ll remove the damaged portion of the fallopian tubes and reattach the ends of the undamaged tubes for unobstructed egg movement.

A tubal ligation doesn’t have to mean permanent sterilization. Dr. Macey can help you significantly increase your chance of pregnancy with a tubal reversal. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with the practice of Dr. John Macey today.

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