Women's Health Texas – San Antonio

Tubal ligation

Tubal ligation is a surgical procedure that provides permanent birth control

Women seeking a permanent answer to birth control often choose a tubal ligation, which is also known as “getting your tubes tied.” This is a very reliable form of birth control, with approximately a 99.5 percent effectiveness rate.

How does a tubal ligation prevent pregnancy? 

This procedure closes the fallopian tubes, which are the tubes that connect the uterus to the ovaries. This is why it’s called “getting your tubes tied.” Sperm travels into the fallopian tubes, where they can fertilize the egg inside the tubes. Closing the tubes takes away the sperm’s access to the egg, thus preventing fertilization.

How is the procedure performed? 

A surgical tubal ligation can be performed laparoscopically, or it can be performed immediately following childbirth.

Laparoscopic tubal ligation 

This is a minimally invasive, outpatient surgical procedure that takes place in a surgery center or hospital, usually under general anesthesia. It usually takes about 30 minutes. Our San Antonio OBGYNs only need to make two small incisions. One is below your navel, and is made so the physician can insert the laparoscope. The second incision is just above the pubic bone, which allows surgical instruments to be inserted to close the fallopian tubes.

Postpartum tubal ligation

Many women who are interested in this type of permanent birth control choose to have the procedure immediately after giving birth. If a woman has had a C section, our San Antonio OBGYNs simply cut and tie the fallopian tubes through the same incision that was made for the C section.

If the woman had a vaginal birth, she will receive anesthesia before our San Antonio OBGYNs make a small incision under the navel. They go through this small incision to pull the fallopian tubes and tie, cut or clip both tubes shut.

Both procedures take about 30 minutes. Most women recover from a laparoscopic tubal ligation quickly and are usually able to return to work and normal activities in a week or less. Women who choose the post-partum option will not prolong their hospital stays after giving birth.

What are the risks of getting your tubes tied?

The risks are low, but it is a surgical procedure, so it is not without some risks.

  • Problems with anesthesia
  • Internal injuries to tissue and/or organs caused by the surgical instruments
  • Slight risk (less than 1%) that the fallopian tubes were not completely closed, making it possible to get pregnant
  • If a woman gets pregnant after tubal ligation, there is a greater risk for an ectopic, or tubal, pregnancy

Women should remember that this is a permanent form of birth control, and it is expensive and difficult to reverse. In some cases, tubal reversal is not possible.

Our San AntonioOBGYNs counsel our patients about the permanence of this method, and recommend that they have thorough discussions with their partners before deciding to have this procedure.

If you would like more information about this permanent contraceptive method, contact us.