Tubal ligation is surgery to close a woman’s Fallopian tubes. It is sometimes called “tying the tubes.”) The Fallopian tubes connect the ovaries to the uterus. A woman who has this surgery can no longer get pregnant. This means she is “sterile.”
Tubal ligation is done in a hospital or outpatient clinic.
- You may receive general anesthesia. You will be asleep and unable to feel pain.
- Or, you will be awake and given local or spinal anesthesia. You may also receive medicine to make you sleepy.
The procedure takes about 30 minutes.
- Your surgeon will make one or two small surgical cuts in your belly. Most often, they around the belly button. Gas may be pumped into your belly to expand it. This helps your surgeon see your uterus and Fallopian tubes.
- A narrow tube with a tiny camera on the end (laparoscope) is inserted into your belly. Instruments to block off your tubes will be inserted through the laparoscope or through a separate small cut.
- The tubes are either burned shut (cauterized) or clamped off with a small clip or ring (band).
Tubal ligation can also be done right after you have a baby through a small cut in the navel. It can also be done during a cesarean section.
Why the Procedure is Performed
Tubal ligation may be recommended for adult women who are sure they do not want to get pregnant in the future. The benefits of the method include a sure way to protect against pregnancy and the lowered risk of ovarian cancer.
Women who are in their 40s or who have a family history of ovarian cancer may want to have the whole tube removed in order to further decrease their risk of later developing ovarian cancer.
However, some women who choose tubal ligation regret the decision later. The younger the woman is, the more likely she will regret having her tubes tied as she gets older.
Tubal ligation is considered a permanent form of birth control. It is NOT recommended as a short-term method or one that can be reversed. However, major surgery can sometimes restore your ability to have a baby. This is called a reversal. More than half of women who have their tubal ligation reversed are able to become pregnant. An alternative to tubal reversal surgery is to have IVF (in vitro fertilization).
Risks for tubal ligation are:
- Incomplete closing of the tubes, which could make pregnancy still possible. About 1 out of 200 women who have had tubal ligation get pregnant later.
- Increased risk of a tubal (ectopic) pregnancy if pregnancy occurs after a tubal ligation.
- Injury to nearby organs or tissues from surgical instruments.
Before the Procedure
On the day of your surgery:
- You will usually be asked not to drink or eat anything after midnight the night before your surgery, or 8 hours before the time of your surgery.
- Take the drugs your doctor told you to take with a small sip of water.
- Your doctor or nurse will tell you when to arrive at the hospital or clinic.
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