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Questions to Ask A Doctor About
Tubal Ligation Reversal 

These questions were posted by Julia Smith, RN of Chapel Hill Fertility Center on the INCIID web site. 

How long has the physician been performing tubal ligation reversals?
The longer the better!  If the majority of his surgical experience has been in other areas, that is not a good indicator.  A doctor should have performed a minimum of 200 reversals to be considered an expert.

Where was the doctor trained?
You should expect that a doctor has completed a residency in Ob/Gyn with board certification in that specialty or reproductive surgery.  He/She should also have additional training in tubal surgery.

Does the doctor perform the surgery on an outpatient basis?
Outpatient surgery reduces the cost of surgery and will allow you to return home or to a local hotel following your procedure.

How many tubal ligation reversals has the doctor performed this year?
Not just the total number.  You want to know if the doctor has performed a greater number of surgeries five years ago than he/she has recently.  His skills will be sharper if his experience is frequent and ongoing.

What are the doctor's success rates following the reversal surgery, based on the patient's age and healthy tubal length?
Most important is the rate for your age group.  If you are 40, you do not want to be quoted the success rate for 23 year olds.  Does the doctor keep data to back up his/her success rates?

How long does the surgery take?
More than two hours is not a good indication!  Complication rates and recovery times also increase with longer time under anesthesia.

Will the surgery be performed in a private, outpatient surgery center or will I need to go to a hospital?
Keep in mind that hospitals have residents and medical students who are in training.  The facility should also be accredited by a nationally recognized body such as the Joint Commission for the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.

What is the recovery time following the surgery?
More than ten days to two weeks is not a good indication.

Will I know the exact measurements of healthy fallopian tubes I have remaining following completion of the surgical procedure?
The surgeon should provide the exact amount of tube remaining following your surgery.  This may be important information to have later.

Who will administer my anesthesia during surgery?
You should expect that a board certified anesthesiologist will administer and monitor our anesthesia during surgery.  This is preferrable to a nurse anasthetist.  You should also know that you will be able to speak and meet with the anesthesiologist prior to your surgery to discuss any important medical and anesthesia history and that you will be provided with his/her number in case you have questions or problems before or after surgery.

Will you be following up with me and be available to answer and assist me as I attempt to conceive following the surgery?
You will have questions as you recuperate and try to conceive.  You should know that the doctor and/or his nurse will be available to address any concerns you may have and that they will provide ongoing support and information to help you conceive.  What are their office hours and do they provide phone numbers for weekend and after hours contact?  Problems and questions do not come up just during regular business hours!!

Still have questions?  email tammy.k@ivillage.com