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Tubal Ligation Reversal

Preparing for surgery

A tubal sterilization procedure is done when a woman decides she no longer wants any future pregnancies. This should only be done after detailed consent is acquired and the woman is sure of her decision. Despite this, it's been reported that up to 15 percent of women who have a sterilization procedure regret it in the future and wish for a tubal reversal.

If a woman wants a reversal, certain points must first be clarified. First of all, the procedure is usually not covered by health insurance companies, which places the financial responsibility on the patient. The cost of the procedure varies from $7,000 to $10,000. Another important thing to remember is that there is no guarantee for a successful reversal. This is due mainly to the way in which the fallopian tubes heal – despite the possible reconnection the natural healing process may close off the tubes again at the point of reconnection.

Tubal Reversal Results

It will take 10 to 12 weeks after the reversal before success can be seen. This is usually determined by the use of a specialized X-ray, called a hysterosalpingogram. This test injects a small amount of dye into the uterus through the cervix using a small plastic catheter to see if the tubes are open, or have failed to connect.

The biggest risk with a reversal is that of a tubal pregnancy (ectopic pregnancy) in which the products of conception get trapped in the reconnected tubes. This may be a life-threatening condition, but can be treated if caught in time.

Other Options

For women who have had a prior sterilization, but now wish to conceive, there is another option. The process of in-vitro fertilization (IVF) can bypass a woman's fallopian tubes by placing her egg and her partner's sperm in a test tube for conception. The resulting fertilized egg is then replaced into the woman's uterus to implant. However, as with reversals, there is no guarantee for success. Additionally, the process of IVF includes daily injections for the woman as she prepares her eggs to be harvested.

For these reasons, medical professionals should clearly inform patients that a tubal sterilization procedure should be viewed as permanent. Informed consent is vital to the patient being ultimately content with her decision for sterilization. A sterilization procedure should never be done as a temporary method of birth control.

By Hector Chapa

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