Many women opt for a tubal ligation, commonly known as getting your tubes tied, when they are certain they do not want to risk another pregnancy, and are happy with their present family size. There are a variety of methods used in tubal ligation, however remember that it is a surgery in which your fallopian tubes will be cut, blocked or tied. Tubal implants are sometimes used, and involve tiny metal coils placed inside the fallopian tubes. Scar tissue eventually grows around the implanted springs, creating a permanent blockage in the tubes which prevents the egg from being fertilized by a sperm.
Sterilization Using a Tubal Implant
A laparoscopy is the most common way to perform a tubal ligation, and is accomplished via a small incision made in the abdomen through which both viewing and surgical instruments can be inserted. This type of tubal ligation is usually performed using general anesthetic, although occasionally an epidural is used. A mini-laparotomy is essentially the same as a laparoscopy, however the incision is much less invasive. General anesthesia is used in this procedure, or, occasionally, a regional or epidural anesthetic. Tubal ligations following pregnancy are normally done using the mini-laparotomy since the fallopian tubes are in a different position following delivery. A postpartum tubal ligation is usually performed one to two days following delivery of the baby, or, in the case of a C-section, can be done at the same time. Many women have vaginal bleeding following a tubal ligation, and doctors will advise a woman to rest for a few days following the procedure.
Tubal Implant Specifics
A tubal implant is typically done in the doctor's office or an outpatient center, and takes a mere half an hour to complete. Prior to having a tubal implant procedure, the cervix will be dilated, and you will be positioned as you would be for a pap smear. A tube will be inserted into the fallopian tubes, and the implants placed. Some women report cramping following this procedure. Unlike the other methods of tubal ligation, an alternate form of birth control must be used for at least three months following a tubal implant. After three months a dye will be injected, and an X-ray taken to ensure the implants are in place and that the scar tissue has successfully blocked the fallopian tubes.
Following a tubal ligation, there is a slight risk of pregnancy of approximately .05% after one year. After ten years following a tubal ligation, the risk increases to eighteen women out of every 1,000 who have undergone the procedure. Occasionally the tubes actually grow back together if they have been cut, or, in cases where they were actually tied or bypassed, a new passage can form that will allow the egg to be successfully fertilized. In very rare instances, the tubal ligation surgery was not properly performed, and pregnancy will occur. Tubal ligation implants are a little riskier, as approximately one percent of women who have had the implants will become pregnant over a period of two years. A small number of women change their minds about having another baby following a tubal ligation, and undergo a surgical procedure to reverse the tubal ligation, however a future successful pregnancy following a reversal is not a given, and, in fact, has a very low success rate.