Tubal ligation (informally known as getting one's "tubes tied") is a permanent form of female sterilization, in which the fallopian tubes are severed and sealed or "pinched shut", in order to prevent fertilization. Hormone production, libido, and the menstrual cycle can be affected by a tubal ligation.
In women, a tubal ligation can be done in many forms; through a vaginal approach, through laparoscopy, a minilaparotomy ("minilap"), or through regular laparotomy. Also, a distinction is made between postpartum tubal ligation and interval tubal ligation, the latter not being done after a recent delivery. There are a variety of tubal ligation techniques; the most noteworthy are the Pomeroy type that was described by Ralph Pomeroy in 1930, the Falope ring that can easily be applied via laparoscopy, and tubal cauterization done usually via laparoscopy. In addition, a bilateral salpingectomy is effective as a tubal ligation procedure. A tubal ligation can be performed as a secondary procedure when a laparotomy is done; i.e. a cesarean section. Any of these procedures may be referred to as having one's "tubes tied."
Tubal ligation can be performed under either general anesthesia or local anesthesia (spinal or epidural, often supplemented witha tranquilizer to calm the patient during the procedure). The default in tubal ligations following on from cesarean birth is usually spinal/epidural, while the default in non-childbirth related situations may be general anesthesia as a matter of doctor preference. However, tubal ligations under local anesthesia, either inpatient or outpatient, may be performed under patient request.
Less commonly performed is the Essure procedure, in use since 2002. In this procedure micro-inserts are placed within the fallopian tubes by means of catheter and Hysteroscopy. The micro-inserts produce eventual occlusion of the fallopian tubes by causing the in-growth of tissue.