Microsurgical reversal of sterilisation - is this still clinically relevant today?

Ann Acad Med Singap. 2010 Jan;39(1):22-6.


Introduction: Women with previous tubal sterilisation seeking fertility are faced with treatment options of reconstructive tubal surgery or in vitro fertilisation (IVF) techniques. The aim was to assess the current viability of tubal anastomosis in a local clinical practice.

Materials and methods: A retrospective cohort review of all sterilisation reversal cases from January 1998 to January 2008. The main outcome measures included fi rst pregnancy success and live birth after surgery. Subsequent live births, ectopic pregnancies, miscarriages, duration of surgery and hospitalisation within the study period were also reported. We included cases aged less than 40 years, without any known semen abnormalities, and performed by only one operator. Cases with only unilateral reversal were excluded.

Results: Nineteen cases with previous Filshie clip ligation (9 laparoscopic/10 open) were reviewed. Cumulative pregnancy rates with surgery were 47.4% (<6 months), 57.9% (6 to 12 months), 68.4% (12 to 48 months) and 73.7% (>48 months). Pregnancy (77.8% vs 70.0%) and live birth rates (66.7% vs 60.0%) were similar between laparoscopy and open surgery. The mean interval to pregnancy was marginally lower via laparoscopy (11.3 vs 13.6 months). Hospitalisation stay was significantly halved (1.43 vs 3.00 days) but ectopic pregnancies were increased 3-fold (3 vs 1) with laparoscopy. Compared with IVF, the estimated average cost per delivery for laparoscopic reversal was reduced for laparoscopic reversal with no multiple pregnancies.

Conclusion: Our results favour surgical reversal after sterilisation for patients younger than 40 years old. It avoids hyperstimulation risks and the economic burdens associated with multiple pregnancies. Where expertise is available, laparoscopic reversal should be performed.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Fertilization in Vitro
  • Humans
  • Laparotomy / adverse effects
  • Microsurgery / methods*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Rate*
  • Pregnancy, Ectopic / etiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sterilization Reversal / adverse effects*
  • Sterilization, Tubal*