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Fertil Steril. 1985 Apr;43(4):499-510.

Reversibility of female sterilization.



The discussion considers the current status of reversibility of sterilization in the US and describes clinical and experimental efforts for developing techniques designed for reversibility. It focuses on regret following sterilization, reversal potential of current sterilization techniques, patient selection, current reversal techniques, results of sterilization procedures, experimental approaches to reversal of current techniques of sterilization, and sterilization procedures devised for reversibility, in humans and in animals. Request is the 1st stage of reversal, but a request for sterilization reversal (SR) does not always mean regret for a decision made at the time. Frequently it is a wish to restore fertility because life circumstances have changed after a sterilization that was ppropriate at the time it was performed. Schwyhart and Kutner reviewed 22 studies published between 1949-69 in which they found that the percentage of patients regretting the procedure ranged from 1.3-15%. Requests for reversal remain low in most countries, but if sterilization becomes a more popular method of contraception, requests will also increase. The ideal operation considered as a reversaible method of sterilization should include an easy, reliable outpatient method of tubal occlusion with miniml risk or patient discomfort that subsequently could be reversed without the need for a major surgical intervention. Endoscopic methods have progressed toward the 1st objective. A recent search of the literature uncovered few series of SR of more than 50 cases. The 767 operations found were analyzed with regard to pregnancy outcome. The precent of live births varied from 74-78.8%, and the occurance of tubal pregnancies ranged from 1.7-6.5%. All of the confounding variables in patient selection and small numbers of reported procedures preclude any conclusion about the different techniques or the number of operations that give a surgeon a level of expertise. Few authors classify their results of SR according to the original sterilization procedure. The most commonly performed sterilization (Pomeroy) was the most frequently reported to have undergone a reversal attempt, with a 50% success rate based on term or intrauterine pregnancies. Electrocoagulation was the next most frequent technique for reversal, with a 41% success rate. The less destrictive mechanical tehcniques, clip and band, had a reversal rate of 84% and 72%, respectively. A table summarizes sterilization procedures devised for reversibility in women. A women seeking sterilization should be advised that sterilization is permanent if no further tubal surgery is performed and that reversal is possible but involves a major and expensive operation.

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