Tubal Ligation

What is a tubal ligation?

A surgical procedure that cuts, ties off, or blocks the fallopian tubes, tubal ligation keeps eggs from your ovaries from reaching the uterus, and blocks sperm from getting to the fallopian tubes, where fertilization takes place. Because egg and sperm can’t meet, you can’t become pregnant.

Tubal ligation is a hormone-free method of birth control, so there’s no reaction to artificially introduced estrogen. Your menstrual cycles will continue normally. The eggs released by your ovaries will be absorbed by your body. Except for the physical barrier created by the procedure, your reproductive system works normally.

How is a tubal ligation performed?

A stand-alone procedure called an interval tubal ligation is done as a laparoscopic procedure. A needle or incision is made in your bellybutton to introduce an inert gas, typically nitrous oxide or carbon dioxide, to inflate your abdomen. This permits your surgeon a clearer view of your internal anatomy.

A laparoscope is then inserted into your abdomen through a small incision. Each fallopian tube has a small section removed or blocked with clips, preventing the passage of eggs and sperm. Interval tubal ligations are typically performed on an outpatient basis.

Tubal ligation can also be performed following a vaginal birth using a similar procedure called a mini-laparotomy, which creates a small incision under the bellybutton. If you have a C-section birth, your Broadview OBGYN obstetrician can perform a tubal ligation through the C-section incision, if you’ve decided this is your final pregnancy.

Do tubal ligations have any complications?

Tubal ligation surgery is simple, safe, and reliable, but any surgery carries some risk, such as infection. Laparoscopic procedures generally have fewer risks than conventional procedures. While it is one of the most reliable birth control methods, failures can happen, though the frequency is less than 1%. The younger you are at the time of the tubal ligation, the greater the risk of failure.

If you get pregnant after a tubal ligation, there’s a possibility that the pregnancy may be ectopic — outside the uterus. Most often, ectopic pregnancies implant in the fallopian tubes themselves, and these pregnancies cannot come to term successfully.