Permanent contraception by tubal ligation is one of the most commonly used contraceptive methods in the United States, with 11 million U.S. women relying on this method. Approximately 700,000 tubal sterilizations are performed in the United States each year and tubal ligation is the most popular form of contraception worldwide.
A tubal ligation is a simple surgical procedure that results in permanent contraception by blocking the fallopian tubes, either by cutting, clamping or tying them. When the tubes are blocked, sperm cannot reach the egg, and pregnancy cannot happen. Since it is a permanent procedure, you should have strongly considered all other forms of contraception before having a tubal ligation.
After you deliver, your doctor will take you to the operating room where they will make a small incision below your belly button. Through this incision they will find both of your tubes and tie them off, cutting out a small segment so that the free ends fall apart from one another (see picture). This method results in a less than 1% chance of failure. We also send the tubal segments to the pathologist to ensure that we have completely tied the tubes. Once finished, they will close the skin and place a small dressing on the incision.
If you have to have a cesarean section, or are scheduled to undergo one anyway, the procedure may also be performed at the same time with no additional incision required. The tubal segments are tied in the same fashion, and again result in a less than 1% chance of failure.
After having a tubal, your hospital stay is usually not increased unless complications arise, and you will be provided with additional pain medication as needed to relieve discomfort. If you develop any signs of infection such as pain at the incision site, redness, or foul purulent discharge, please notify our office immediately.