Tubal sterilization or “getting your tubes tied” is a procedure that some women choose to undergo when they believe they are permanently finished having children. In some cases though, a woman may decide that she made a mistake in choosing the procedure and again desires biological children. Tubal sterilization is meant to result in permanent fertility impairment, however for some women this procedure may be reversed.
What is Tubal Sterilization?
Tubal sterilization is procedure that inhibits pregnancy by blocking the pathway between the ovary and uterus. Blocking the fallopian tubes stops both sperm from reaching an egg as well as the egg from reaching the uterus. In short, it causes a blockage that halts fertility. Doctors can perform this surgery in many ways. The fallopian tubes can be cut, this is called tubal ligation, a portion of the tube can be removed, or they can be cauterized shut with an electrical current. Sterilization can also be performed with rings, clamps, or clips that are placed on the fallopian tube effectively closing them and stopping any chance of pregnancy.
Isn’t This Procedure Permanent?
Tubal sterilization is meant to be a permanent procedure that will directly inhibit the fertility of any woman who chooses it. However, in some cases – and with the skilled hand of an experienced, compassionate fertility surgeon – tubal sterilization can be reversed. For a tubal sterilization to be successfully be reversed, a few conditions must exist. First the woman should be young and under normal conditions be expected to be able to become pregnant again. Her sterilization must have be performed with rings, clamps, clips or if a small portion of the fallopian tube was removed. The success of the procedure can also be aided if the time between the sterilization procedure and the reversal procedure were relatively close.
How is Tubal Sterilization Reversal Accomplished?
Each tubal sterilization reversal is different, yet in the end Dr. Chamoun’s goal is to reestablish the connection between the ovary and the uterus by restoring the integrity of the fallopian tube. He can do this by removing the ring, clamp, or clip that held the fallopian tube shut, or by connecting a fallopian tube that had been severed. To do this he may institute one of three types of surgery. The first: abdominal laparoscopy is a type of abdominal surgery where the fallopian tubes will be accessed and repaired. Laparoscopic tubal reversal uses a small incision that can access the “tied” fallopian tubes. This procedure uses a very small incision to reverse a sterilization. The third is robotically assisted tubal sterilization reversal. In this procedure highly predictable robotic instruments are used to reconnect and repair blocked tubes with an extremely small incision. After removing any obstructions like rings, clips, or clamps, or attaching the tubes patients typically need at least three months to heal.
These procedures are considered minimally invasive and can last between two to three hours. General anesthesia is used and an overnight stay in the hospital may be required – although most women are able to return home to rest the day of surgery.
After tubal sterilization is reversed it can take between three and four months after the fallopian tubes have healed to see if fertility has been restored. This procedure also can increase the chances of an ectopic pregnancy developing. An ectopic pregnancy occurs when the sperm and ovum meet in the fallopian tube and begin to develop into an embryo. And, with all surgeries tubal sterilization reversal also carries the risk of infection and bleeding in nearby organs such as the bladder, bowel and blood vessels.
If at one point in your life decided children were out of the question and had your fallopian tubes tied, but are now second guessing that decision, call the Viera Fertility Center today. After an evaluation, Dr. Chamoun can help you decide if tubal sterilization reversal will be successful for you. Depending on your situation, you may be able to conceive naturally again or become a candidate for assisted reproductive technologies such as in vitro fertilization, frozen embryo transfer, or intrauterine insemination. At Viera Fertility Center our aim is to help you reach your goal of creating the family of your dreams with compassion and the newest, most effective technology available.