Tying Tubes is Not Like Tying a Shoe Lace
Many patients seem to imagine the fallopian tube is like a shoe lace which is tied up like a bow to prevent pregnancy. As tubal ligation reversal specialists, we wish it were that easy- then untying tied tubes would be easier!
‘Tying fallopian tubes’ is a common language phrase used to describe several different surgical procedures that result in tubal sterilization (a procedure intended to permanently prevent pregnancy). The more correct medical term is bilateral (both sides) tubal occlusion (closure of the fallopian tube).
Tubal Ligation Methods
There are many different ways to occlude (close) the fallopian tubes: ligation and resection (tying and cutting), clips and rings, and coagulation (burning). No matter how the procedure is done the end result causes the tube to close, heal shut, and prevent sperm from fertilizing an egg.
Filshie Clip Tubal Ligation
One common form of laparoscopic (camera) sterilization is the use of Filshie clips to occlude both fallopian tubes. The Filshie clip was approved for use in the United States in the mid 1990′s. The Filshie clip is a small titanium clip which is lined with a thin silicone cushion. The clip was an improvement over the Yoon Falope Ring and the Hulka Clip because it was as easy to apply with less risk of operative complications. The clip also has the advantage of destroying only a very small portion of the fallopian tube- approximately 4mm (approximately the thickness of two quarters stacked on each other). The adjacent tube is not affected. The majority of Filshie clips placed in the United States are done by laparoscopic surgery; however, there is a growing trend to use them for tubal occlusion at the time of cesarean delivery (c-section).
The Filshie clip causes bilateral tubal occlusion by squeezing a very small portion of the tube. The squeezed portion is deprived of its blood supply and eventually undergoes avascular necrosis (dies and is absorbed by the body). This causes the fallopian tube to be divided in half and the two ends to close up. The Filshie clip is held in place (in between the two divided ends) by a small amount of scar tissue which forms over the clip.
A common misconception is that the Filshie clips can simply be removed to reverse the sterilization process- that the tubes can be unclipped. Unfortunately, tubal ligation reversal for Filshie clips is not as simple as just opening the clips. Filshie clip tubal occlusion is reversed by removing the clips and using microsurgical techniques to open the closed ends and join the tubal segments back together in perfect alignment.
The reversal of Filshie clip tubal occlusion is usually technically easier than some other methods of sterilization because such a minimal amount of tube is destroyed in the occlusion process.
Approximately 76% of patients at Chapel Hill Tubal Reversal Center become pregnant after a reversal of a Filshie clip sterilization procedure.
Tubal Sterilization Can Be Reversed
Many people believe tubal sterilization is permanent and irreversible. Although Filshie clip sterilization is intended to be permanent, this procedure can be reversed. Chapel Hill Tubal Reversal Center is the one medical facility that specializes in tubal ligation reversal.
We have become experts in reversing all types of tubal ligations- or ‘untying’ tubes that have been ‘tied’!
Submitted by Dr. Charles Monteith