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Female sterilisation is a common, permanent, non-reversable procedure. Female sterilisation is an operation to permanently prevent pregnancy. The fallopian tubes are blocked or sealed to prevent the eggs reaching the sperm and becoming fertilised.

How female sterilisation is carried out

The surgeon will block your fallopian tubes (tubal occlusion) by either:

  • applying clips – plastic or titanium clamps are closed over the fallopian tubes
  • applying rings – a small loop of the fallopian tube is pulled through a silicone ring, then clamped shut
  • tying, cutting and removing a small piece of the fallopian tube

This is a fairly minor operation and many women return home the same day.

Tubal occlusion procedure

The surgeon accesses your fallopian tubes by making a small cut either near your belly button (laparoscopy) or just above your pubic hairline (a mini-laparotomy).

They’ll then insert a long, thin instrument that has a light and camera (a laparoscope) to clearly see your fallopian tubes.

A laparoscopy is usually used because it’s faster, but a mini-laparotomy may be recommended for women who:

  • have had recent abdominal or pelvic surgery
  • are obese
  • have a history of pelvic inflammatory disease, a bacterial infection that can affect the womb and fallopian tubes

The fallopian tubes are then blocked by applying clips or rings, or by tying, cutting and removing a small piece of the tube.

Removing the tubes (salpingectomy)

If blocking the fallopian tubes has not worked, the tubes may be completely removed. This is called a salpingectomy.

Essure Hysteroscopic Sterilization

The Essure Hysteroscopic Sterilisation method provided permanent birth control via placement of a flexible micro-insert device into each fallopian tube. This procedure was withdrawn from the UK market as of September 2017. You can find more details about this on our other page.

Sterilisation goes wrong.

It is important that you are certain about the decision and to permanently affect your fertility. You should be carefully counselled before undergoing the procedure.

If the procedure goes wrong the impact can be significant. The usual errors are in relation to:

  1. a failure of counselling and consent,
  2. a patient being pregnant at the time of the sterilisation,
  3. risks and complications of the procedure
  4. post operative care failures and
  5. failure of the procedure resulting in pregnancy.

If you think you may have a claim in relation to your sterilisation then call us in confidence to discuss your issue. We are happy to talk through what has happened and advise you on a potential claim. Call us for FREE on 0800 470 2009 or email Dr Victoria Handley at


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