Tubal ligation is performed for birth control. The fallopian tubes carry the egg from the ovary to the uterus. During this several day passage, sperm swim into the fallopian tubes and fertilization of the egg takes place. The fertilized egg then arrives in the uterus and attaches to the uterine wall and a normal pregnancy begins.
Tubal ligation or "having tubes tied" blocks the fallopian tubes preventing the egg and sperm from passing through the fallopian tubes. Tubal ligation procedures are performed in several different ways including: removal of a piece of the fallopian tube; burning a piece of the fallopian tube; placement of a tight surgical band or clip on the fallopian tube. Interestingly, in a tubal ligation, the tubes are never actually "tied"… in a knot. The surgery to correct or reverse this blockage is termed tubal reanastomosis or tubal reversal. Our reproductive surgeons have years of experience performing delicate microsurgical procedures.
When the tubes are severely damaged and tubal reversal surgery is unlikely to succeed, IVF is the "treatment of first choice."
The basic goal of tubal reversal surgery is to open the area of fallopian tube blockage created by the tubal ligation. Tubal reversal or tubal reanastomosis is performed under general anesthesia. At East Coast Tubal Reversal Center, a mini-laparotomy, which is about a 3-inch incision, is made in the lower abdomen and an operating microscope is brought into place.
The fallopian tubes are examined under the microscope and the site of the tubal blockage is identified. The area of tubal blockage is microsurgically removed and the two open areas of the fallopian tube are spliced (reanastomosed) together. The fallopian tubes are small and delicate structures requiring tiny sutures-smaller than a human hair.
The tubal ligation reversal surgery is conducted with care and precision. Tubal reversal surgery usually takes 3 hours. There is minimal blood loss. At our center the fallopian tubes are successfully opened in almost every case. Most procedures are completed as outpatient surgery with recovery time at home for 2-3 weeks.
Patients seeking tubal reversal who are overweight may can often have the surgery performed laparoscopically. A “laparoscopic” approach may be recommended in overweight patients where the abdominal wall is too thick to do the procedure the more common way by “minilaparotomy”- a small incision on the lower abdomen. Laparoscopy is a minimally-invasive technique using a camera and long-handled instruments placed through 2-10mm ports in the abdominal wall. See our laparoscopic tubal reversal video for more details. Alternatively, weight loss is always an option prior to surgery.
In general, women over 200 pounds often have an abdominal wall thickness that is too large for the usual small incision (mini-laparotomy) to be made. But it depends on how tall you are and how your body fat is distributed. If you are over 200 pounds it does not mean the surgery cannot be done, rather it may make it prudent have the procedure performed laparoscopically. There is an upper limit to safely perform laparoscopy, and it depends on how fat is distributed on a woman, but upper limit on weight for the laparoscopic technique generally falls somewhere approaching 250 lbs. If over 250 lbs it would be best to work on weight loss in most cases. Of course, we hope you will become pregnant soon after your surgery with us and having you weight in as good control as possible prior to pregnancy is important for the health of both mother and baby.
Tubal ligation reversal surgery is performed at the Monticello Community Surgery Center and/or Martha Jefferson Hospital Outpatient Surgery Center in Charlottesville. Martha Jefferson Hospital was named one of the “Top 100” community hospitals in the country. Doctors Williams and Bateman have no ownership in this high-quality surgery center so no conflict-of-interest exists with referral of our surgery patients.
We are one of the very few centers in the nation to offer a refund guarantee for tubal ligation reversal surgery. Please see or tubal ligation money back guarantee page.