Tubal Ligation

WHAT IS IT?

Tubal ligation (sometimes referred to as “having tubes tied”) is a surgical procedure to close or block the fallopian tubes.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

There are three techniques that may be used to perform the procedure. One is a laparoscopy, in which special instruments are inserted through two tiny incisions (less than 1 cm long) in the abdomen. The second technique is called a mini-laparotomy. This also requires a small cut in the abdomen. The third technique is hysteroscopy, in which a thin telescope is inserted into the uterus.

Fallopian tubes may be blocked by a clip or ring; through an electric current (cauterization); removal of a small piece of each tube; or through the insertion of tubal plugs.

Blocking the fallopian tubes prevents the sperm from joining with the egg, which prevents pregnancy.

HOW EFFECTIVE IS IT?

Tubal ligation is approximately 99.5% effective in preventing pregnancy.

WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF HAVING A TUBAL LIGATION?

ADVANTAGES:
• no contraception routine required – nothing to remember
• after the procedure is complete, it is a private form of birth control
• does not interfere with intercourse
• no significant long-term side effects

DISADVANTAGES:
• difficult to have reversed
• possible post-sterilization regret
• possible short-term surgery-related complications: abdominal discomfort; bruising, bleeding, or infection at incision site; reaction to anesthesia
• does not protect against STIs
• if pregnancy does occur, there is a higher chance that it will be an ectopic pregnancy