Tubal ligation (or "tying the tubes") is surgery to close a woman's fallopian tubes. These tubes connect the ovaries to the uterus. A woman who has this surgery can no longer get pregnant. This means she is "sterile."
Sterilization surgery - female; Tubal sterilization; Tube tying; Tying the tubes; Hysteroscopic tubal occlusion procedure
Tubal ligation is done in a hospital or outpatient clinic.
The procedure takes about 30 minutes.
Tubal ligation can also be done right after you have a baby through a small cut in the navel or during a cesarean section.
Another sterilization method involves going through the cervix and placing coils or plugs in the tubes where they connect with the uterus (hysteroscopic tubal occlusion procedure). This technique does not involve cuts in the abdomen.
Tubal ligation may be recommended for adult women who know for sure they do not want to get pregnant in the future.
Even though many women choose to have tubal ligation, some are sorry later that they did. 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.
A hysteroscopic tubal occlusion procedure is very hard to reverse.
Risks for any surgery are:
Risks for any anesthesia are:
Risks for tubal ligation are:
Always tell your doctor or nurse:
During the days before your surgery:
On the day of your surgery:
You will probably go home the same day you have the procedure. Some women may need to stay in the hospital overnight. You will need a ride home.
You will have some tenderness and pain. Your doctor will give you a prescription for pain medicine or tell you what over-the-counter pain medicine you can take.
After laparoscopy, many women will have shoulder pain for a few days. This is caused by the gas used in the abdomen to help the surgeon see better during the procedure. You can relieve the gas by lying down.
You should avoid heavy lifting for 3 weeks, but you can return to most normal activities within a few days.
If you have the hysteroscopic tubal occlusion procedure, you will need to keep using a birth control method until you have a test 3 months after the procedure to make sure it worked.
For more information, see: Taking care of yourself after a tubal ligation
Most women will have no problems. Tubal ligation is an effective form of birth control for women. You will NOT need to have any tests to make sure you cannot get pregnant in the future if the procedure is done with laparoscopy or after delivering a baby.
Some women may need to have a test called hysterosalpingogram about 3 months after the procedure to make sure your tubes are blocked.
Your periods should return to whatever pattern is normal for you. If you used hormonal birth control or the Mirena IUD before, then your periods will change to whatever is normal for you after you stop using these methods.
Women who have a tubal ligation have a decreased risk of developing ovarian cancer.
Mishell DR Jr. Family planning: contraception, sterilization, and pregnancy termination. In: Katz VL, Lentz GM, Lobo RA, Gershenson DM, eds. Comprehensive Gynecology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2007:chap 14.