Bilateral Cauterization Failure: Definition and Causes of Failure

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Bilateral tubal cauterization is a surgical procedure in which a woman’s fallopian tubes are blocked off or cut surgically in order to prevent pregnancy. This procedure is quite common and has been performed on over ten million women in the United States. There are several different causes of tubal cauterization failure, though they rarely occur. On average only one in two-hundred women will experience failure.

Procedure Description

It is a surgical procedure performed to sterilize a woman so that she can no longer have children. This procedure is most often performed on married women over thirty years of age who have at least two children. It is considered a type of permanent birth control, though in rare cases it can fail and a woman can become pregnant again.

What Causes Failure?

Four main things can cause failure. The main cause is if the ends of the fallopian tubes that were cut grow back together. If a woman was already pregnant when she had this procedure done it will fail. If the fallopian tube is not completely blocked off or cut this surgery will fail. If any rubber bands or plastic clips come off or loosen it will fail.

How is a Failure Corrected?

If this surgical procedures fails, the woman can decide whether or not to have the surgery performed again to correct whatever caused it to initially fail. If it failed due to her being pregnant she will first have to have the baby and then have the procedure performed again. If an ectopic pregnancy occurs because of this procedure, it will need to be corrected before the reason it failed can be corrected.


Almost all women will experience one-hundred percent effectiveness from this procedure and they will never again become pregnant. Most women recover well as long as they comply with the after care and home care instructions. After care typically includes pain medication, the need to take it easy for a little while and a follow-up appointment with their doctor. Most women who have this procedure will go home a few hours after it is performed.


Surgery Encyclopedia. (2009). Tubal Litigation and Cauterization. Retrieved on August 28, 2009 from Website: