The basic principle of a tubal ligation is that it interrupts the continuity of the fallopian tubes, and thus prevents the egg from meeting the sperm.
A tubal ligation can be done postpartum at the time of cesarean section, shortly after delivery, or unrelated to pregnancy (interval tubal ligation). It prevents the egg from traveling into the uterus and the sperm from traveling up to the egg. There are hundreds of different surgical methods for doing a tubal ligation:
- Tying, cutting, burning the tube
- Removing or cutting out a piece of the tube
- Cutting the tube after each end has been tied off with sutures
- Cutting the tube after it was tied in the middle
- Coagulating (heat sealing, burning) a piece of the tube
- Electocautery of a piece of the tube
- Obstructing the tube with clips or silicone rubber bands, or
- A combination of these methods.
Some procedures remove no or only small parts of the fallopian tubes, others remove larger portions or even completely remove the tubes.