What Is Laparoscopic Tubal Sterilization?
Laparoscopic tubal sterilization is surgery used to block the fallopian tubes. It is often called "having your tubes tied." Blocking the tubes prevents pregnancy. During surgery, a lighted viewing tube called a laparoscope is used to guide other instruments. After surgery, you'll usually go home within a few hours. Tubal sterilization should be considered permanent and irreversible. If you have this surgery, you most likely will never be able to get pregnant again. So, be sure this is what you want. Talk it over with your partner and healthcare provider.
How Effective Is Surgery?
Tubal sterilization surgery is one of the most effective birth control methods. But very rarely, pregnancy can occur after surgery. In some cases, the pregnancy is normal. In other cases, a fertilized egg may begin to grow in a fallopian tube. This is called an ectopic (tubal) pregnancy and requires emergency treatment. Talk with your healthcare provider if you have questions.
The Female Reproductive System
During each menstrual cycle, one of the ovaries releases an egg into a fallopian tube. After vaginal intercourse, sperm can enter the tube to fertilize the egg. If the egg isn't fertilized, it is absorbed by the body or is 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 occur. The egg is absorbed by your body. You'll continue to have menstrual periods until menopause.
Risks and Complications
Problems with tubal sterilization are rare, but can include:
Damage to blood vessels, nerves, or muscles
Damage to the bladder, ureters, or bowel, requiring surgical repair
Failure to block the fallopian tubes (very rare)