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Fallopian rings are used in female sterilization procedures. The rings go around small loops formed in each of the fallopian tubes. These looped sections will necrose, or die, forming scarring that blocks the tubes completely and prevents egg cells from traveling down the tubes.
During ovulation, hormone changes in a woman's body prompt the release of one or more mature egg cells from the ovaries. The egg cell then enters the fallopian tube, where fertilization may occur if sperm cells are present. The fertilized egg travels to the uterus, where it implants and begins to grow. Any form of physical blockage, including fallopian rings, can halt this process prior to fertilization.
Women who want a permanent form of birth control may consider fallopian rings. The procedure is up to 99.5 percent effective, with about one out of every 200 women becoming pregnant following a tubal ligation. Patients may choose to have the surgery, also known as "tying the tubes," at any time. The process may be easier if done during a cesarean section or immediately following a vaginal birth, however. The fallopian tubes are easier to access just after pregnancy, and if the patient delivered under general anesthesia or with an epidural, no additional anesthesia may be necessary.
There are two main methods of applying fallopian rings. The less invasive, the minilaparotomy, is performed through a small incision made just above the pubic hair. A laparoscopy procedure requires a larger incision near the navel. The incision has to be large enough for the surgeon to insert a small camera to see the surgical area better.
Risks of using fallopian rings include an increased chance of having an ectopic pregnancy. In this situation, the fertilized egg implants in the fallopian tube rather than in the uterus. This is a potentially life-threatening condition, as the tube can burst and cause internal bleeding if the implanted embryo is not removed surgically. Other risks include infection, damage to other abdominal organs during the procedure and anesthesia-related risks such as allergic reaction.
Patients who change their minds and want to restore their fertility after undergoing a tubal ligation may attempt a reversal. This procedure does not have a high overall success rate. Women with fallopian rings may have a better chance of becoming pregnant after reversal than women who undergo other forms of tubal ligation, because the tubes have not been cut or cauterized. The success rates of a fallopian ring tubal ligation reversal range from 50 to 80 percent.
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