What is Laparoscopic Tubal Sterilization?

Laparoscopic tubal sterilization is surgery to block the fallopian tubes. It may be called “having your tubes tied.” It’s done to prevent pregnancy. During surgery, a thin lighted tube called a laparoscope is used. This allows surgery to be done through small incisions. Tubal sterilization is considered permanent birth control. Having it means you will not be able to get pregnant again. (In some cases, a reversal can be attempted, but it is not often successful.) 

 

Discuss all of your options with your partner and your health care provider.

During each menstrual cycle, one of the ovaries releases an egg. This egg travels into a fallopian tube. After vaginal intercourse, sperm can enter the tube and fertilize the egg. The fertilized egg then implants in the wall of the uterus. If the egg isn’t fertilized, it is absorbed by the body. Or, it’s discharged during your monthly period.

Blocking the fallopian tube prevents the sperm from reaching the egg.

 

How effective is surgery?

This surgery is one of the most effective birth control methods. But very rarely, pregnancy can still occur. In some cases, the pregnancy is normal. In other cases, a fertilized egg may start to grow in a fallopian tube. This is called an ectopic (tubal) pregnancy. It requires emergency care. Talk with your health care provider if you have questions about this risk.

The female reproductive system

During each menstrual cycle, one of the ovaries releases an egg. This egg travels into a fallopian tube. After vaginal intercourse, sperm can enter the tube and fertilize the egg. The fertilized egg then implants in the wall of the uterus. If the egg isn’t fertilized, it is absorbed by the body. Or, it’s discharged during your monthly period. 

After tubal sterilization

After surgery, each ovary still releases an egg. But the egg’s passage through the fallopian tube is now blocked. Sperm also can’t pass through the tube to the egg. When egg and sperm can’t meet, pregnancy can’t happen. The egg is absorbed by your body. You’ll keep having menstrual periods until menopause.

Risks and complications

Problems with tubal sterilization are rare, but can include:

  • Infection

  • Bleeding

  • Damage to blood vessels, nerves, or muscles

  • Damage to the bladder, ureters, or bowel, requiring surgical repair

  • Blood clots

  • Failure to block the fallopian tubes (very rare)

  • Formation of scar tissue

  • Hernia formation



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