What Is Tubal Ligation?

Tubal ligation is a form of birth control for women who’ve already had children and do not want to have any more. The procedure involves cutting or tying the fallopian tubes to prevent the tubes from releasing an egg or sperm from traveling to the eggs. Tubal ligation is a surgical procedure that requires local or general anesthesia and special instruments like a laparoscope.

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When can the procedure be done?

The procedure can be performed immediately after a woman gives birth or weeks or months afterward. If the surgery is performed after a woman gives birth, for example, after a C-section, the physician will make an incision under the belly button to gain access to the uterus. For this procedure, doctors use a laparoscope to penetrate the abdominal wall and clip the fallopian tubes.

Is tubal ligation permanent?

Tubal ligation is considered a permanent method of birth control, but there are instances of women getting pregnant after the procedure is performed. This is not common but tends to occur more in younger women. Studies show that 1 in 1,000 women get pregnant within a year of the procedure. Women who do get pregnant after a tubal ligation are more likely to have an unsafe pregnancy.

Ectopic pregnancy risks

Tubal ligation increases the risk of an ectopic pregnancy. An ectopic pregnancy occurs when a fertilized egg grows in the fallopian tubes instead of the uterus. Since the fallopian tubes aren’t made to hold a fetus, the embryo cannot grow to full term and the pregnancy must be terminated. However, any pregnancy after tubal ligation is rare.

What are the risks associated with tubal ligation?

Tubal ligation is an invasive procedure so there are some risks. Patients should be aware of these risks prior to getting this surgery. These risks are:

  • Wound infection
  • Abdominal pain
  • Allergic reaction to anesthesia
  • Damage to bladder
  • Unwanted pregnancy

Patients with a history of diabetes or obesity should be extra careful as these risks are more prominent in those population groups.

Making the best choice for you

A physician will be able to help women decide if a tubal ligation is a right choice. This is something patients should discuss with a doctor before undergoing the procedure. Schedule an appointment with a healthcare provider today to answer any questions about tubal ligation.

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