About the Tubal Ligation Reversal Procedure

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What is tubal ligation? Can a tubal ligation be reversed? Who is a candidate for the procedure? In this article, you'll learn what tubal ligation is, who is a candidate for the reversal surgery, financial implications, and what to expect after the procedure.

What is tubal ligation?

Tubal ligation is a surgical form of contraception in which the woman is sterilized either by cutting or sealing the fallopian tubes. Most tubal ligation patients are over 30, married, and have already had two to three children. The procedure is also performed on women who should not become pregnant due to health concerns. Women may also opt for this procedure if their partner doesn't want to have a vasectomy.

Can tubal ligation be reversed?

Most women who have had a tubal ligation will be able to have the process reversed, but not all. Factors affecting the success of the procedure include:

Tubal length- After a tubal ligation is performed; you have two stumps left from the severing of your fallopian tubes. One stump is attached to the uterus and the other separated from it. In the reversal procedure, the surgeon joins the two stumps together.
Longer stumps will increase your chances of having a successful outcome from the surgery and of becoming pregnant. Stump length can only be verified once the surgery starts.

Sperm Count- Have your partner go in for a sperm count before undergoing surgery. If his sperm quality is low, you may want to try in vitro fertilization. (IVF)

Age- As a woman ages, her likelihood of becoming pregnant decreases, and there is a greater chance of birth defects or complications. Women over the age of 38 may want to consider IVF.

History of scar tissue or pelvic endometriosis- These pelvic conditions may hinder you from becoming pregnant.

Tubal ligation type Women who had their fallopian tubes blocked off with a clip or ring, suffer less damage than if the tubes were severed or burned.

In the time leading up to the tubal ligation reversal, women may feel frustrated, angry, sad, and feel a loss of control. Both partners may feel overwhelmed by a hectic schedule of medical appointments and tests.

Your surgery will have a greater chance of success if you follow a healthy diet, stay hydrated, and minimize stress. Talking over your concerns with your partner will keep the lines of communication open and keep him involved in the process.

Some insurances cover part of the surgery, but most do not. The costs of tests and anesthesia may be covered. Check with your insurance carrier to verify your benefits. Credit cards can also be used and you may be able to pay on an installment plan.

Thanks to advances in microsurgery, tubal ligation reversal can be done in less than an hour on an outpatient basis, however, most of the time the procedure is done under general anesthetic in a hospital and can take from two to three hours. Only a one day stay in the hospital is usually required, but can be up to five days. After you leave the hospital, you should be completely recovered in four to six weeks.

Complications are rare, but may include bleeding, infections, complications due to anesthesia, and damage to the surrounding organs. Women should arrange to take time off from work. You may feel fatigued or nauseous, but these symptoms should go away in 2-5 days.

Most women have a successful outcome from the surgery and over two thirds become pregnant within the first year.

More about this author: Patricia A. Coldiron

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