Tubal ligation (informally known as getting one's "tubes tied") is a permanent form of female sterilization, in which the fallopian tubes are severed and sealed or "pinched shut", in order to prevent fertilization. Hormone production, libido, and the menstrual cycle can be affected by a tubal ligation.
Tubal ligation can be performed under either general anesthesia or local anesthesia (spinal or epidural, often supplemented witha tranquilizer to calm the patient during the procedure). The default in tubal ligations following on from cesarean birth is usually spinal/epidural, while the default in non-childbirth related situations may be general anesthesia as a matter of doctor preference. However, tubal ligations under local anesthesia, either inpatient or outpatient, may be performed under patient request.
Less commonly performed is the Essure procedure, in use since 2002. In this procedure micro-inserts are placed within the fallopian tubes by means of catheter and Hysteroscopy. The micro-inserts produce eventual occlusion of the fallopian tubes by causing the in-growth of tissue.
Usually there are two remaining fallopian tube segments - the proximal tubal segment that emerges from the uterus and the distal tubal segment that ends with the fimbria next to the ovary. The procedure that connects these separated parts of the fallopian tube is called tubal reversal or microsurgical tubotubal anastomosis.
In a small percentage of cases, a tubal ligation procedure leaves only the distal portion of the fallopian tube and no proximal tubal opening into the uterus. This may occur when monopolar tubal coagulation has been applied to the isthmic segment of the fallopian tube as it emerges from the uterus. In this situation, a new opening can be created through the uterine muscle and the remaining tubal segment inserted into the uterine cavity. This microsurgical procedure is called tubal implantation, tubouterine implantation, or uterotubal implantation. Tubal reversal, if done by a specialist microsurgeon, has a high success rate and few complications. Successful repair of the fallopian tubes is now possible in 98% of women who have had a tubal ligation, regardless of the type of sterilization procedure.
IVF in vitro fertilization may overcome fertility problems in patients not suited to a tubal reversal.