To experience the unexpected and change plans is a normal part of life. Many women plan on ending their reproductive journey and do so by having their fallopian tubes tied, clipped or burned. This procedure is called a ‘tubal ligation’. However, women occasionally end-up changing those plans for various reasons.
When a woman chooses to have more children, she could be left with the bewildering decision on what to do if her tubes have been cut or clipped. For many women, that option is in-vitro fertilization; however, there is another option: tubal anastomosis.
Tubal anastomosis (sometimes called tubal ligation reversal) is the technique by which a trained infertility surgeon can carefully put the tubes back together. This restores a woman’s ability to have children on her own. The procedure can be done in a variety of ways including laparoscopically with or without a surgical robot or using in microsurgical fashion via a tiny bikini-line incision.
Outcomes are dependent on the type of tubal ligation that was done. The best chance of putting the tubes back together comes when the tubes were closed using clips. The chance of success decreases when portions of the tubes have been removed. In general, successful procedures to reconnect the tubes have up to an 80% chance of leading to a pregnancy. However, the more difficult the anastomosis, the greater the risk for an ectopic pregnancy. The risk is highest when distant parts of the tube have to be put back together due to a large portion of the tube having been previously removed.
However, when the procedure is successful, it allows a woman to achieve pregnancies on her own and for the duration of her reproductive life. While IVF avoids the biggest risks of surgery, tubal anastomosis offers greater reproductive flexibility.