A tubal ligation is surgery to close the fallopian tubes that lead from the ovaries to the uterus.
This surgery is done to prevent pregnancy. Ovulation and menstruation will still happen, but the cut or blocked tubes will keep the egg and sperm apart.
It should not be used as a short-term or reversible procedure.
Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. The doctor will go over some problems that could happen, such as:
Things that may raise the risk of problems are:
The surgical team may meet with you to talk about:
The doctor may give:
A small incision will be made in or near the navel. A laparoscope will be inserted. This is a long, thin tube with a camera on the end. Gas will be used to inflate the abdomen. This will make it easier to view the organs. A second cut may be made just above the pubic hair to insert an instrument for grasping the fallopian tubes. Methods used to close the tubes are:
The tools will be removed. Incisions will be closed with stitches. Bandages will be applied.
The doctor may switch to an open surgery for some people. This will mean a larger incision.
20 to 30 minutes
Pain and cramps are common in the first few days. Medicine and home care can help.
Most people go home the same day. You may need to stay longer if there are problems.
It will take about a week to fully recover. Some activities may be limited.
Call the doctor if you are not getting better or you have:
If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.
Office on Women's Health—US Department of Health and Human Services
Canadian Women's Health Network
The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. ACOG Practice Bulletin No. 208 Summary: Benefits and Risks of Sterilization. Obstet Gynecol. 2019 Mar;133(3):592-594.
Sterilization for women and men. American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists website. Available at: https://www.acog.org/patient-resources/faqs/contraception/sterilization-for-women-and-men. Accessed August 6, 2020.
Sterilization. Planned Parenthood website. Available at: http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-topics/birth-control/sterilization-women-4248.htm. Accessed August 6, 2020.
Tubal sterilization. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115331/Tubal-sterilization. Accessed August 6, 2020.
Tubal sterilization (tubal ligation). Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/prevention-wellness/sex-birth-control/birth-control/tubal-sterilization.html. Accessed August 6, 2020.
Last reviewed March 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Beverly Siegal, MD, FACOG Last Updated: 2/26/2021