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BCM - Baylor College of Medicine

Giving life to possible

Obstetrics and Gynecology

Female Sterilization

Female sterilization is a procedure that closes or blocks a woman's fallopian tubes, providing permanent birth control. The fallopian tubes carry the egg from the ovary to the uterus. Blocking or closing off the tube prevents sperm from reaching and fertilizing the eggs.

There are two types of female sterilization:

Tubal ligation. Tubal ligation, also known as "getting your tubes tied," is outpatient surgery in which the tubes are cut, sealed with electrical current, or closed with clips, clamps or rings. Tubal ligation can be performed laparoscopically or through a small incision in the abdomen (mini-laparotomy). Depending on the approach used, it is performed in a hospital or outpatient clinic under anesthesia.

Hysteroscopic sterilization. In hysteroscopic sterilization, also known as the Essure procedure, a small scope is used to insert very small spring-like coils into the fallopian tubes through the vagina and no incision is needed. Scar tissue grows around the inserted coils and blocks the tubes. Because there is no incision, the procedure can be performed in the clinic setting using only local anesthesia. Most women return to their normal activities within 24 hours.

Female sterilization does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.