What Is Tubal Ligation?

Tubal ligation is surgery women can get to "tie” their fallopian tubes. It’s a type of female sterilization.

The goal is to prevent eggs from traveling from the ovaries to the uterus, so you can’t get pregnant.

What Happens During the Procedure?

You can get tubal ligation done in a hospital or at an outpatient surgical clinic. You will get anesthesia, so you won’t feel anything.

The surgeon will make one or two small cuts in your belly and use a long, thin device similar to a small telescope (called a laparoscope) to cut, seal, band, clamp, or tie your fallopian tubes shut. The doctor will then stitch up your cuts, and you can go home a few hours later.

Like any procedure, there is a chance of infection, pain, or bleeding.

How Effective Is It?

Tubal ligation and tubal implants are almost -- but not quite -- 100% effective. There is a slight risk of becoming pregnant after tubal ligation. That can happen if the tubes grow back together, which is very rare.

Can I Get My Tubes Untied if I Change My Mind?

In some cases, it’s possible to reverse tubal ligation. But it’s major surgery that requires a couple of days in a hospital.

There is a good chance that you might not be able to get it reversed. It depends on what method of tubal ligation you got, how long ago that was, and whether your tubes are too damaged to undo it.

Reversing a tubal ligation increases your likelihood of an ectopic pregnancy when compared to patients who have not had previous tubal surgery. An ectopic pregnancy occurs when the fertilized egg is in the fallopian tube instead of in the uterus. It is a life-threatening condition.

Does Tubal Ligation Protect Against STDs?

No. The procedure is just about preventing pregnancy. Male condoms provide the best protection from most sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including HIV.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Traci C. Johnson, MD on December 08, 2016

Sources

SOURCES:

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: “Female Sterilization Fact Sheet.”

University of Wisconsin Health: “Tubal Ligation Reversal.”

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