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Tubal Ligation Reversal

What is tubal ligation reversal?

Tubal ligation reversal is a surgery to try to reconnect or unblock your fallopian tubes so that you may be able to get pregnant again. Tubal ligation reversal is done after you have had tubal ligation, which is a way to prevent pregnancy by surgically closing your fallopian tubes.

Normally, the fallopian tubes carry the eggs from the ovaries to the uterus (the muscular organ where babies grow). Tubal ligation closes the tubes. It prevents pregnancy because it stops sperm from reaching and fertilizing eggs when you have sex. It also prevents eggs from reaching the inside of the uterus. Opening the tubes allows the eggs to travel to the uterus again.

When is it used?

If you decide that you want to become pregnant again after sterilization, having surgery to reverse tubal ligation is one way that might make this possible. It does not always work.

Ask your healthcare provider about your choices for treatment and the risks.

How do I prepare for this procedure?

  • Make plans for your care and recovery after you have the procedure. Find someone to give you a ride home after the procedure. Allow for time to rest and try to find other people to help with your day-to-day tasks while you recover.
  • You may or may not need to take your regular medicines the day of the procedure. Some medicines (like aspirin) may increase your risk of bleeding during or after the procedure. Tell your healthcare provider about all medicines and supplements that you take. Ask your provider if you need to avoid taking any medicine or supplements before the procedure.
  • Tell your healthcare provider if you have any food or medicine allergies.
  • Follow your provider's instructions about not smoking before and after the procedure. Smokers may have more breathing problems during the procedure and heal more slowly. It’s best to quit 6 to 8 weeks before surgery.
  • Your healthcare provider will tell you when to stop eating and drinking before the procedure. This helps to keep you from vomiting during the procedure.
  • Follow any other instructions your healthcare provider gives you.
  • Ask any questions you have before the procedure. You should understand what your healthcare provider is going to do. You have the right to make decisions about your healthcare and to give permission for any tests or procedures.

What happens during the procedure?

You will be given a regional or general anesthetic to keep you from feeling pain. Regional anesthesia numbs part of your body while you stay awake. If you have regional anesthesia, you may also be given medicine to help you relax. General anesthesia relaxes your muscles and you will be asleep.

Surgery may be done in two ways:

  • Laparoscopic surgery is done through 1 or more small cuts in your belly. Your provider puts a small lighted tube, called a laparoscope, through a cut. A tool is put through the cut to remove the damaged part of the tubes and sew the good ends of the tubes back together.
  • Open surgery (with bigger cuts in the belly) may be needed.

What happens after the procedure?

If the surgery is successful, your ability to get pregnant returns right away. However, your healthcare provider will likely recommend that you wait to have sex for a short time after the procedure to give you time to recover from the surgery. If you have sex during the fertile times of your cycle and don’t get pregnant within 3 months after reversal, you should see your healthcare provider.

Ask your healthcare provider:

  • How long it will take to recover
  • What activities you should avoid
  • How to take care of yourself at home and when you can return to your normal activities
  • What symptoms or problems you should watch for and what to do if you have them

Make sure you know when you should come back for a checkup.

What are the risks of this procedure?

Every procedure or treatment has risks. Some possible risks of this procedure include:

  • You may have problems with anesthesia.
  • You may have infection or bleeding
  • Other parts of your body may be injured during the procedure.
  • Scar tissue (adhesions) may form on the organs in your belly.
  • If you do get pregnant after this procedure, there is a high risk that the baby will grow in the tubes instead of your uterus. A tubal pregnancy can cause serious problems and be life-threatening.

Ask your healthcare provider how these risks apply to you. Be sure to discuss any other questions or concerns that you may have.

Developed by RelayHealth.
Adult Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2014-04-21
Last reviewed: 2014-04-15
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright ©1986-2015 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All rights reserved.
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