Skip to main navigation Skip to main content Skip to footer For Medicare For Providers For Brokers For Employers Español For Individuals & Families: For Individuals & Families Medical Dental Other Supplemental Explore coverage through work How to Buy Health Insurance Types of Dental Insurance Open Enrollment vs. Special Enrollment See all topics Shop for Medicare plans Member Guide Find a Doctor Log in to myCigna
Home Knowledge Center Wellness Library Tubal Ligation Surgery

Tubal Ligation Surgery

Surgery Overview

Tubal ligation is surgery to close your fallopian tubes. It's also called having your tubes tied.

To close your tubes, the doctor may band, burn (cauterize), tie and cut, or clip them. The doctor may also completely remove the fallopian tubes. After this, an egg can't move down your tubes and can't be fertilized. This means you can't get pregnant.

This surgery can be done in two ways. In laparoscopic surgery, a doctor puts a lighted tube (scope) and other tools through a few small cuts. These cuts are called incisions. One is just below your belly button. The other is lower on your abdomen. After this surgery, you will probably stay in the hospital for 2 to 4 hours. You can likely go back to work in 2 to 7 days.

The other type of surgery is called open surgery (mini-laparotomy). In this surgery, the doctor makes a larger incision above your pubic hairline or below your belly button. You will probably stay in the hospital for 1 to 3 days if you have this surgery. You can probably go back to work in about 1 to 2 weeks.

Surgery can be done right after you give birth (postpartum tubal ligation). Open surgery is usually used.

After the surgery, you should not be able to get pregnant. While there is a very small chance you could get pregnant, tubal ligation is a very reliable form of birth control.

Tubal ligation won't affect your menstrual cycle or when you start menopause. It also won't affect your desire for sex. But you could feel more relaxed about having sex. This is because you don't have to worry about getting pregnant.

What To Expect

What To Expect

After a tubal ligation, you will most likely go home the same day. Your surgeon will give you instructions about what to expect and when to call after the surgery.

  • You may have some slight vaginal bleeding caused by the movement of your uterus during the surgery.
  • If you had a laparoscopy, your stomach may be swollen (distended) from the air that was used to lift your skin and muscles away from your abdominal organs so the surgeon could see them better. This should go away within a day or so, but it may last longer. You may also have some back or shoulder pain from the air in your belly. This will go away as your body absorbs the air.
  • You can shower 24 hours after the surgery. But avoid rubbing or pulling on your incision for at least a week.
  • You can have sexual intercourse as soon as you feel like it and it doesn't cause pain. This is usually 1 week after surgery.
  • Be sure to rest for a few days (or at least 24 hours) before you start to resume your normal activities. You should be able to resume all activities within a week.
  • No backup method of birth control is needed after the surgery.

A follow-up exam in 2 weeks is usually scheduled.

How Well It Works

How Well It Works

Tubal ligation is not 100% effective at preventing pregnancy.

  • There is a slight risk of becoming pregnant after tubal ligation. This happens to about 5 out of 1,000 women after 1 year. After a total of 5 years following tubal ligation, about 13 out of 1,000 women will have become pregnant. footnote 1
  • Pregnancy may occur if:
    • The tubes grow back together or a new passage forms (recanalization) that allows an egg to be fertilized by sperm. Your doctor can discuss which method of ligation is more effective for preventing tubes from growing back together.
    • The surgery was not done correctly.
    • You were pregnant at the time of surgery.
Risks

Risks

Major problems from tubal ligation aren't common.

  • Minor problems include infection and wound separation.
  • Major problems include heavy blood loss, general anesthesia problems, organ injury during surgery, and need for a larger laparotomy incision during surgery.

Although fewer problems occur with laparoscopy than with other kinds of tubal ligation surgery, these complications can be more serious. For example, in rare cases, the bowel or bladder is injured when the laparoscope is inserted.

The general risks of surgery are greater if you have diabetes, are overweight, smoke, or have a heart condition.

If a tubal ligation fails and you become pregnant, you have an increased risk of having an ectopic pregnancy.

References

References

Citations

  1. Roncari D, Jou MY (2011). Female and male sterilization. In RA Hatcher, et al., eds., Contraceptive Technology, 20th rev. ed., pp. 435–482. New York: Ardent Media.

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated, disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Learn how we develop our content.

© 1995-2022 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

<cipublic-spinner variant="large"><span>Loading…</span></cipublic-spinner>

Page Footer

I want to...

Get an ID card File a claim View my claims and EOBs Check coverage under my plan See prescription drug list Find an in-network doctor, dentist, or facility Find a form Find 1095-B tax form information View the Cigna Glossary Contact Cigna

Audiences

Individuals and Families Medicare Employers Brokers Providers

Secure Member Sites

myCigna member portal Health Care Provider portal Cigna for Employers Client Resource Portal Cigna for Brokers

Cigna Company Information

About Cigna Company Profile Careers Newsroom Investors Suppliers Third Party Administrators International Evernorth

 Cigna. All rights reserved.

Privacy Legal Product Disclosures Cigna Company Names Customer Rights Accessibility Non-Discrimination Notice [PDF] Language Assistance [PDF] Report Fraud Sitemap

Disclaimer

Individual and family medical and dental insurance plans are insured by Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company (CHLIC), Cigna HealthCare of Arizona, Inc., Cigna HealthCare of Illinois, Inc., and Cigna HealthCare of North Carolina, Inc. Group health insurance and health benefit plans are insured or administered by CHLIC, Connecticut General Life Insurance Company (CGLIC), or their affiliates (see a listing of the legal entities  that insure or administer group HMO, dental HMO, and other products or services in your state). Accidental Injury, Critical Illness, and Hospital Care plans or insurance policies are distributed exclusively by or through operating subsidiaries of Cigna Corporation, are administered by Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company, and are insured by either (i) Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company (Bloomfield, CT); (ii) Life Insurance Company of North America (“LINA”) (Philadelphia, PA); or (iii) New York Life Group Insurance Company of NY (“NYLGICNY”) (New York, NY), formerly known as Cigna Life Insurance Company of New York. The Cigna name, logo, and other Cigna marks are owned by Cigna Intellectual Property, Inc. LINA and NYLGICNY are not affiliates of Cigna.

All insurance policies and group benefit plans contain exclusions and limitations. For availability, costs and complete details of coverage, contact a licensed agent or Cigna sales representative. This website is not intended for residents of New Mexico.

Selecting these links will take you away from Cigna.com to another website, which may be a non-Cigna website. Cigna may not control the content or links of non-Cigna websites. Details