What Is Bilateral Tubal Ligation?
Bilateral means both left and right. Tubal ligation refers to tying the fallopian tube. Although the strict meaning of bilateral tubal ligation is tying both fallopian tubes, bilateral tubal ligation is used in a more general way to refer to any type of tubal sterilization.
Types of Tubal SterilizationPomeroy technique. This involves tying off a section or loop of the tube and then cutting out a piece of the tied-off segment. The Pomeroy technique is categorized as a ligation and resection method. There are dozens of variations of this type of sterilization that involve ligating and removing a section of fallopian tube.
Instead of tying and removing a segment of tube, the fallopian tube can be burned, also known as coagulation or cauterization. This method of "bilateral tubal ligation" can be more destructive than the tying and cutting technique since the extent of the burn cannot be fully recognized at the time of the operation. This is because heat damage to nearby areas of the tube result in tissue damage and scarring that occurs over time. Of the two common methods of tubal coagulation, the bipolar coagulation method is less destructive than the monopolar method.
The fallopian tubes can be blocked by clips or rings. The newest method for blocking the tubes is Essure which can be done as an office procedure through a hysteroscope.
Of all methods of bilateral tubal ligation, cutting off the ends of the tubes (fibriectomy) tends to be the most damaging.
Is Bilateral Tubal Ligation Permanent?
Although most doctors tell their patients that bilateral tubal ligation is permanent, in reality almost all methods of bilateral tubal ligation can be reversed. This is often surprising to women who want to become pregnant again after having a bilateral tubal ligation. In most cases, they find this out through internet research rather than from their doctor.