Pomeroy Technique of Tubal Ligation and Resection
The most common type of tubal ligation is the Pomeroy procedure, named after Dr. Ralph Pomeroy who described it in 1930. The Pomeroy method involves picking up a segment of the fallopian tube to create a knuckle, placing a tie or ligature with absorbable suture around its base, and then cutting off the knuckle of tube above the tie. As the suture dissolves, the 2 remaining tubal segments separate from each other.
“Modified” Pomeroy Techniques
Interestingly, Dr. Pomeroy did not publish his technique in the medical literature but simply demonstrated it to other doctors. Some of them subsequently published the technique, but with modifications.
Currently, many doctors use the term modified Pomeroy procedure when they describe the tubal ligation they have performed in a patient’s operative report. Each doctor seems to have his or her own way of operating and there are many variations from the original method. Some doctors use absorbable suture, while others use permanent sutures that do not dissolve. Some doctors place more than one tie around the tube and many doctors also burn or cauterize the tubal ends.
A tubal ligation operative report is useful as a guide but does not predict exactly what the remaining tubal segments will be at the time of a reversal procedure. Fortunately, Pomeroy tubal ligation and its modifications are usually excellent in terms of reversibility.
Pomeroy Tubal Ligation Reversal Success
At Chapel Hill Tubal Reversal Center, we keep a record of all patients’ tubal reversal operations, including the tubal ligation method, the remaining tubal segment lengths, and other important findings at the time of surgery. Since we maintain long term follow-up with our patients, we are able to provide accurate statistics about pregnancies and their outcomes after tubal reversal surgery. Here are some of the pregnancy statistics for women who have had a Pomeroy type of tubal ligation.
Pregnancy Rates of Our Tubal Reversal Patients
The overall pregnancy rate after Pomeroy tubal ligation reversal is 70% for patients at Chapel Hill Tubal Reversal Center. The table below shows pregnancy rates according to women’s ages at the time of tubal reversal. The first column shows ages by 5 year groupings. The second column shows the number of women in each age group who had a tubal reversal. The third and fourth columns show the number and the percentage of women who became pregnant after their reversal procedure. The data shown in this table come from our Tubal Reversal Pregnancy Study Report 2007.
Here is how the pregnancy rate is calculated: The number of pregnant women (column 3) divided by all women in that age category who had reversal surgery (column 2) times 100 equals the percentage of women who became pregnant (column 4). A doctor has to know all of this information in order to be able to state what the success rate is for his patients.
Pregnancy Rate By Age After Pomeroy Tubal Reversal
Good News About Pomeroy Reversal
The good news is that for women under age 40, two-thirds to four-fifths will become pregnant following a tubal reversal procedure. Even for women age 40 and over, approximately 4 out of 10 will conceive another pregnancy. From the follow-up data that we have for our tubal reversal patients, there is good reason for optimism when reversing a Pomeroy tubal ligation.