Permanent Birth Control

Surgical sterilization is one option for women who don’t want children in the future. It is considered permanent because reversal requires major surgery that is often unsuccessful.

We offer two primary options for female surgical sterilization: tubal ligation and tubal occlusion. Both block the fallopian tubes, preventing the egg and sperm from meeting. They are highly effective methods to prevent conception, with lower pregnancy rates than birth control pills or condoms. Unlike birth control pills, patches, rings, injections, and some IUDs, surgical sterilization does not use hormones that interfere with your natural menstrual cycle or hormone production. Surgical sterilization does not prevent sexually transmitted diseases.

Traditional Laparoscopic Tubal ligation, or “getting your tubes tied”

A tubal ligation is performed under general anesthesia usually laparoscopically – a minimally invasive surgical procedure using a small abdominal incision and a thin, fiber-optic camera. The procedure takes between 30 to 45 minutes.

Tubal ligation is not 100% effective, though fewer than 1% of women become pregnant after the procedure. A resulting pregnancy may either be normally located in the uterus or abnormally located out of the uterus (ectopic pregnancy). Risks of a tubal ligation procedure may include infection, bleeding, and those associated with being under general anesthesia.

Essure and Hysteroscopic tubal occlusion

Unlike traditional tubal ligation, no incision is needed with hysteroscopic sterilization. The approach to the tubes is through the cervix into the uterine cavity. Although mild cramping is often felt afterward, most women return to regular activities the next day. The procedure generally takes 10 minutes or less and requires only a local anesthetic. We perform this either in the office or the operating room.

With the Essure procedure, tissue grows around an inserted coil or matrix to form a plug that blocks the tubes. Three months after the procedure a special type of x-ray test is conducted to confirm that your tubes are completely blocked. During these three months, another form of birth control must be used.

Hysteroscopic sterilization is highly effective: fewer than 1% of women become pregnant after undergoing the procedure. A small percent of women experience complications from this type of procedure such as pain or abnormal bleeding.

Choosing a surgical sterilization procedure

Our physicians have extensive experience with all types of surgical sterilization. If you decide on surgical sterilization, we can help you decide which procedure is the best one for you.

Additional information

WebMD Birth Control Health Center