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Tubal Ligation

Risks of Tubal Ligation

No procedure is ever completely free of risks. However, tubal ligation has been performed for many years with successful results and limited complications. If problems do occur, they may include but are not limited to:
  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Allergic skin reactions
  • Blood clots
  • Blood vessel injury
  • Reactions to medication or anesthesia
  • Other rare and unlikely events.
Fortunately, major complications from this procedure are rare. In fact, it is about six times safer than driving a car and two to three times safer than being pregnant.
(Click Tubal Ligation Complications for more information on the possible risks.)

Alternatives to Tubal Ligation

Several alternatives for preventing unwanted pregnancies exist. Although none are as effective as sterilization, they all protect against pregnancy. These include:
  • Periodic abstinence, or natural family planning
  • Barrier methods like condoms and diaphragms
  • Hormonal methods, such as birth control pills
  • The Depo-Provera® injection
  • Intrauterine devices (IUDs)
  • Vasectomy.
The success rate of each method varies.

Final Thoughts

Sterilization is an important decision. If you are finished having children and know for certain that you do not, and will not, desire any future pregnancies, a tubal ligation is a safe and effective means of achieving this goal.
Although there is a slight chance of pregnancy after this procedure, a tubal ligation is a highly effective surgical means of birth control. It is intended to be a permanent, irreversible procedure. As with all surgical procedures, there are possible risks and complications. However, tubal ligation is quite safe, and the failure rate is low.
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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