Tubal Reversal

FAQs on Tubal Reversal



There are around 700,000 tubal ligations (tubes tied) done each year in the U.S. This procedure involves closing or blocking the fallopian tubes. A tubal reversal is a procedure used to open the tubes back up so the woman can get pregnant.


How is a tubal ligation done?

The tubes are either tied together, sealed shut with a clip or ring, or burned and modified with electric current. This process keeps the egg from being fertilized or traveling to the uterus.


Why is a tubal reversal done?

A woman may think she wants no more children, but sometimes, life circumstances change. A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that around 7% of women choose to have a tubal reversal.


How do I prepare for the tubal reversal?

Before the procedure, the doctor asks questions about which type of tubal ligation was performed, as to determine which tubal reversal procedure will work best. The physician also must conduct a full physical examination, which includes imaging tests and bloodwork on you and your partner.


What tests are done?

The doctor must perform a hysterosalpinogram (HSG), which uses contrast dye and real-time x-ray to examine the structure and functioning of the remaining fallopian tubes. For the man, a semen analysis is performed to assess for infertility issues.


How is the tubal reversal surgery done?

This outpatient procedure is done using general anesthesia (put to sleep). A small incision is made above the pubic bone and right below the bikini line. To make the tubes accessible, they are pulled above the incision so the surgeon can make necessary repairs. Surgical instruments are used to remove the unhealthy sections of the fallopian tubes. Once open and unobstructed, the tubes are aligned and sutures are used to reconnect the outer and middle layers of the tubal structure. To avoid or minimize scarring of the tissue, the inner layers are not touched.


What can I expect following the tubal reversal procedure?

After the surgery, you will be sore around the incisions and surgical area. This lasts for 12-48 hours. You can return to week within 5-7 days if your job is fairly sedentary. However, if lifting and heavy work is required, you may not return until the surgical area has fully healed. The fertility specialist will advise you when it is safe to attempt pregnancy.


Who is a candidate for tubal reversal surgery?

The tubal reversal procedure is a practical alternative for some women, but not everyone is a candidate. A tubal ligation cannot be done when the fallopian tubes are less than four centimeters, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM). You are a good candidate if you:

  • Have no other fertility issues
  • Have a partner with adequate number of sperm and quality
  • Have severed tubes that are long and healthy enough for repair
  • Are under the age of 40 years
  • Have a body mass index that is normal


What risks are associated with a tubal reversal procedure?

As with other surgeries, some risks are associated with the tubal reversal. These include infection, bleeding, allergic reaction to medication, injury to organs, and scarring of the fallopian tube tissue.


Does the tubal reversal procedure work?

A woman’s chances of getting pregnant following a tubal reversal is around 90% within two years of this procedure. The success rates of the tubal reversal depend on several factors, such as:

  • The health and length of the fallopian tubes
  • Your age
  • The skill of the surgeon
  • The male partner’s sperm quality and count
  • The type of tubal ligation performed