Treatments & Options - Reversals - Procedures

Getting your tubes tied or undergoing a vasectomy is a permanent form of birth control but sometimes an individual chooses to reverse the procedure. In this section, we explain general procedures for tubal reversal and vasectomy reversal.

Reversing a tubal ligation
Tubal ligation is commonly known as getting your tubes tied. Here is what to expect with tubal reversal:

  1. First, get your operative report. You need to get a copy of the operative report that describes the process your doctor used when tying your tubes. How much of the tube remains and the location of the sterilization are key in determining if tubal reversal surgery may let you get pregnant. 
  1. Your tubal ligation will have left a blockage in the tube or a piece of tube missing. An incision is made on each side of the tube just past the blockage and to the place where there is a normal and open tube. The two ends are then brought together using stitches.
  1. The most successful tubal reversal surgeries are performed under a microscope so that the edges of the tubes can be easily seen and the stitches properly placed. The tube is then tested in the operating room with blue dye to make sure it is open.
  1. Most often the tubal reversal surgery is performed through a small incision in the lower abdomen, just below the bikini line. The procedure usually takes between 1-1/2 and 3 hours.

Following your reversal, you may have sex and attempt to get pregnant after your second period, and in some cases, the first. Use caution, as your abdomen will be tender from the surgery for a few weeks. The tubes should be sufficiently healed about 1 month after tubal reversal surgery.

Vasectomy reversal
With a vasectomy, a surgeon blocks or cuts the vas deferens, found on the right and left side of a man’s testicles. This blockage will prevent sperm from travelling through the penis during ejaculation.

Vasectomy reversal is a surgical procedure and is done under anesthesia. With a vasectomy reversal, the vas deferens is reconnected. This lets sperm travel from the testes out through the penis during ejaculation.

Before the vasectomy reversal, the surgeon will examine a fluid sample from the end of the vas deferens to check for sperm. If sperm are present, the surgeon will proceed with a vasovasostomy (VV). If sperm are not visible during this preliminary evaluation, the surgeon will perform a procedure called a vasoepididymostomy (VE). A VE is necessary to overcome any problems or blockages in the epididymis, where the sperm are stored. A VE is a more complex vasectomy reversal procedure than a VV and the VE has lower success rates. Some men may need both procedures: one done on either side.

Is tubal reversal surgery right for you? Talk to your doctor. So many factors must be considered with tubal ligation reversal. Trust your doctor to guide you, depending on your age and sterilization situation.

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