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Alternative Names Return to topSterilization surgery - female; Tubal sterilization; Tube tying; Tying the tubes
Definition Return to top
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 (sterile).
Description Return to top
Tubal ligation is done in a hospital or outpatient clinic. You may receive general anesthesia. This will make you unconscious and unable to feel pain. Or, you may have local anesthesia (awake and unable to feel pain) or spinal anesthesia (awake but unable feel pain). The procedure takes about 30 minutes.
Tubal ligation can also be done right after you have a baby through the vagina or during a cesarean section.
Why the Procedure is Performed Return to top
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 it is 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. Even so, major surgery can sometimes reverse it. About 50 to 80 women out of 100 who have their tubal ligation reversed are able to become pregnant.
Risks Return to top
Risks for any surgery are:
Risks for any anesthesia are:
Risks for tubal ligation are:
Before the Procedure Return to top
Always tell your doctor or nurse:
During the days before your surgery:
On the day of your surgery:
After the Procedure Return to top
You will probably go home the same day you have the procedure. Some women may need to stay in the hospital overnight.
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 (medicine you can buy without a prescription) you can take.
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
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 can not get pregnant in the future.
References Return to top
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.
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Sterilization by laparoscopy. ACOG Education Pamphlet AP035. February 2003. Accessed February 19, 2009.Update Date: 2/19/2009 Updated by: Susan Storck, MD, FACOG, Chief, Eastside Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Redmond, Washington; Clinical Teaching Faculty, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.