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Reversal of female sterilisation

Surgery to restore your fertility after sterilisation

Surgeons performing a reversal of female sterilisation procedure
Reversal of female sterilisation is an operation to reverse a previous sterilisation procedure. The surgery involves reconnecting the fallopian tubes that were blocked or cut during sterilisation.

It is also known as tubal ligation reversal, tubal reanastomosis, or tubal sterilisation reversal.

Reversal of female sterilisation is a complex procedure and more difficult to perform than the initial sterilisation surgery. There is no guarantee that you will get pregnant after the procedure. Currently, between 50% and  80% of women get pregnant after reversal of female sterilisation.

Call or book online today to arrange a consultation to discuss private reversal of female sterilisation with a consultant of your choice at Circle Health Group.

This page explains what a reversal of female sterilisation is, what happens during the procedure and what to expect during your recovery.

Female sterilisation is a surgical procedure where a woman's fallopian tubes are blocked or cut to permanently prevent conception and pregnancy.

The operation can be performed in several ways:

  • Clips - plastic or titanium clips are applied to the fallopian tubes, clamping them shut
  • Rings - a section of the fallopian tube is pulled through a ring and clamped shut
  • The fallopian tubes are cut and tied
  • The fallopian tubes are removed (salpingectomy)

Female sterilisation is intended as a permanent contraceptive procedure for women who do not want to have children or have had children and do not want any more.

A change of circumstances may mean that some women decide they do want to have children after sterilisation, and between 5% and 10% of women choose to have their sterilisation reversed. 
Reversal of sterilisation is not possible if your fallopian tubes have been removed with a procedure called a salpingectomy.

Some factors that can influence the success of your reversal of sterilisation include:

  • Your age - the procedure is more successful in younger women
  • Your weight - there is less chance of a successful reversal if you are overweight or obese
  • The type of sterilisation you had - sterilisation with clips is the easiest to reverse
  • The condition of your fallopian tubes - if a large part of your fallopian tubes were damaged or removed during your sterilisation, it can make it harder to reverse
  • Your fertility - if you have other fertility issues, reversal is less likely to result in pregnancy
  • Your partner's fertility - your partner may need to have tests to determine sperm quality before your reversal
  • Your general health - having other health conditions can reduce your chances of a successful reversal

At your first consultation, you will be seen by a consultant gynaecologist, a doctor specialising in conditions affecting the female reproductive system.

Your consultant will ask you some questions about your age, general health, and your original sterilisation procedure. If possible, bring any documentation you have from your sterilisation with you to your appointment.

Your consultant may ask:

  • When was your sterilisation done?
  • What kind of procedure did you have?
  • Have you ever been pregnant and were there any problems with your pregnancy?
  • Have you ever had any kind of gynaecological surgery?
  • Do you have any chronic (long-term) health conditions?

Your consultant may arrange for blood tests and imaging scans such as an MRI or ultrasound to check that your womb and ovaries are normal. They may request a procedure called a hysterosalpingogram (HSG) to check the length and viability of your fallopian tubes.

Your consultant may also recommend that your partner has tests like a semen analysis and sperm count to rule out any fertility issues on their part.

Why is this first consultation so important?

At Circle Health Group, your first appointment is very important as it's where we get to know you, discuss your expectations for treatment and provide an individualised treatment plan.

It is important to us that you are as well-informed and comfortable as possible before, during, and after your treatment, so please ask your consultant any questions you may have.

At the end of your appointment, your consultant will advise you on whether a reversal of female sterilisation is suitable for you based on your age, general health, the type of sterilisation you had and the results of any tests or scans.

The main benefit of a reversal of female sterilisation is that if successful, it allows you to get pregnant naturally without the need for techniques such as in-vitro fertilisation (IVF).

Other benefits include:

  • The procedure is often more affordable than alternatives like IVF
  • Lower risk of multiple births
  • Avoidance of high doses of hormones taken during IVF
  • You can try to become pregnant every month

Your consultant will tell you everything you need to do to prepare for your surgery. If there's anything you're not sure about, or if you have any questions about how to prepare for your surgery, speak to your consultant or call the hospital for advice. Being well-prepared for your surgery will ease any anxiety you may have as well as help your surgery and recovery to go more smoothly.

Before your surgery, tell your consultant about any medical conditions or allergies you have and any medication, including over-the-counter medicines you are taking.

Your consultant may tell you to stop taking some medications like blood thinners before your operation. This is to reduce the risk of bleeding during and after your surgery.

You will not be able to eat or drink anything from midnight on the day of your operation.

What lifestyle changes can I make before my surgery?

Being in optimal health before your surgery can reduce the risk of complications and speed up your recovery.

To make sure you are as healthy as possible before your surgery:

  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of fruit, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains
  • If you smoke, try to stop at least eight weeks before your surgery
  • Avoid alcohol for a few days before and after your surgery. Alcohol thins the blood and can increase the risk of bleeding
  • Take regular exercise

Reversal of female sterilisation is carried out under general anaesthetic, which means you'll be asleep for the procedure.

Your consultant will make a cut across your lower abdomen, known as a bikini-line incision. Any clips or rings are removed, and the ends of your fallopian tubes are reconnected to your uterus (womb) using tiny stitches. Your consultant will inject a dye through your uterus to check the tubes are properly connected. The incision is closed, and a sterile dressing is applied.

Reversal of female sterilisation normally takes between one and two hours.

After your surgery, you'll be taken to the recovery room where your heart rate, blood pressure, blood oxygen level and breathing are monitored closely as you come around from the anaesthetic. When you are fully recovered you will be taken to your room.

Recovery from any type of surgery is different for everyone and depends on factors such as your age, general health and whether or not there were any complications during your surgery.

Your consultant will be able to give you an estimated recovery timeline based on your individual circumstances.

You may have some pain for a few days after your surgery. Your healthcare team will give you regular painkillers while you are in hospital to help manage any post-operative pain. Please let a member of staff know if you experience any pain or discomfort after your procedure.

After you are discharged, you can continue to take an over-the-counter painkiller like paracetamol or ibuprofen if needed.

How many nights will I need to stay in hospital?

Most people spend one to two nights in hospital after a reversal of female sterilisation.

Will I be able to drive home?

You will not be able to drive yourself home from hospital after your surgery. Please make arrangements for someone to come and collect you, or we can organise a taxi if you prefer.

How soon can I go back to work?

How soon you can go back to work after your surgery depends on what happened during your procedure, your individual recovery, and the type of job you do. We recommend taking at least a week or two off work after your operation, longer if your job is very physical or involves heavy lifting. Talk to your consultant about when you can expect to go back to work after your surgery.

How soon can I drive?

You should not drive until you can safely control your vehicle and perform an emergency stop comfortably. This is normally around a week after your surgery. Driving before you are ready could be dangerous and may invalidate your insurance. Make sure you get permission from your consultant and your insurance company before driving after surgery.

When will I be back to normal?

Recovery from surgery is different for everyone and it's important that you go at your own pace during your recovery. We recommend that you rest at home for the first week after your procedure and then gradually resume normal activities. Avoid heavy lifting or sexual intercourse until your consultant tells you it's safe.

Most people are able to resume most daily activities within a month.

As with all types of surgery, reversal of female sterilisation carries a small risk of complications. Your consultant will explain all the possible risks and complications before your surgery and answer any questions you may have about your procedure. Being as well-informed as possible about what to expect from your surgery will help put your mind at rest and allow you to make an informed decision, so please ask any questions you may have.

Possible complications of any surgery include:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Blood clots
  • Adverse reactions to the anaesthetic

Possible complications specific to reversal of female sterilisation include:

  • Increased risk of ectopic pregnancy (where the baby grows outside the womb)
  • Damage to nearby organs
  • Development of scar tissue after the surgery, which may re-block your fallopian tubes

At Circle Health Group we have the experience and expertise to ensure the best possible care and outcome for our patients. As a patient with Circle Health Group, you can expect the highest standards of care including:

  • Flexible appointment times and locations that are convenient for you
  • The freedom to choose which hospital and consultant suit your needs
  • Personalised, consultant-led treatment plans tailored to your individual needs
  • Comfortable and safe private facilities maintained by expert multidisciplinary teams
  • Private ensuite rooms as standard
  • A range of delicious healthy meals
  • Affordable, fixed-price packages with aftercare included
  • Flexible payment options to help you spread the cost of your care

If you would like to see a consultant or learn more about reversal of female sterilisation book your appointment online today or call a member of our team directly on 0141 300 5009.

Specialists offering Female sterilisation reversal

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