Tubal reversal (reanastomosis) is a surgical procedure which can restore the function of fallopian tubes which have been blocked by a previous sterilization operation. Most of the time it is performed after a change of partners.
Tubal reversal operations are best performed using microsurgical techniques, in which microscopes are used to visualize and bring together the very narrow hollow center portion of the fallopian tubes. Microsurgery also uses very thin suture materials, the smallest possible incisions, specially designed instruments and non-traumatic tissue handling techniques. Patients almost always go home the same day.
Can I Have Tubal Reversal Surgery?
In general, good candidates for tubal reversal are women who had only small parts of their fallopian tubes removed, or whose tubes were closed using rings or clips. Some surgeons say the best candidates for tubal reversal are women younger than age 40 who had sterilization surgery immediately following childbirth, a procedure called postpartum tubal ligation.
Before the Procedure
Before surgery, your health care provider will likely recommend a complete physical exam for you and your partner to determine if pregnancy can be achieved after a tubal reversal. This may include blood and imaging tests to make sure your ovaries are normal. You will need a test called a hysterosalpinogram (HSG), to check the length and function of your remaining fallopian tubes. An HSG can be doing using dye and X-ray or saline and air along with ultrasound.
A sperm count and semen analysis is recommended for a male partner to rule out any infertility problems.
Complications and Risks
All surgery carries some risk. Risks are very rare but may include bleeding, infection, damage to nearby organs, or reactions to anesthesia.
Women who have tubal reversal have an increased risk of ectopic pregnancy, a life-threatening condition in which a fertilized egg grows outside of the womb -- usually inside a fallopian tube. This condition requires immediate medical attention.
In some cases, the area of the tubal reversal forms scar tissue and re-blocks the fallopian tubes.