What should I know about tubal ligation?


Tubal ligation is a permanent method of birth control. General anesthesia is used and a telescope (laparoscope) is placed through an incision in the belly button as an outpatient procedure (except for those cases done at the time of c-section or in the immediate postpartum period). The fallopian tubes are visualized and ligated either by cautery (burning the tubes) or fallope rings (plastic rings that are used to block the tubes) or clips.

Tubal ligation should be considered permanent (not reversible), and patients should be positive they will never want more children before embarking on this procedure.

No method is without a failure rate, including tubal ligation, and patients should be counseled that the risk of pregnancy with tubal ligation ranges from 1/300 to 1/1000. Pregnancies that do occur after tubal ligation have a high chance of being in the fallopian tube (ectopic) and can be life threatening. An unexpected missed menses in a patient with a prior tubal ligation should prompt a pregnancy test.

Risks of the procedure include anesthesia, bleeding, infection, laparotomy and injury to other organs.

Wendy Fried, M.D., FACOG, FACS, is an OB/Gyn with Northern Obstetrics and Gynecology, PC in North Hills, New York

Disclaimer: The information provided in this document is for educational purposes only. It is not medical advice and is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. Only your own physician knows all the important details of your specific medical and personal history and should be the only one to give you advice regarding your own medical care. You should never disregard medical advice or delay seeking medical advice or treatment because of something you have read herein. If you have any questions whatsoever about your medical health or believe you have a medical problem or disease, you should contact your medical doctor or healthcare provider.