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Tubal ligation is surgery to close your fallopian tubes. It's also called having your tubes tied.
To close your tubes, the doctor may band, burn (cauterize), tie and cut, or clip them. The doctor may also completely remove the fallopian tubes. After this, an egg can't move down your tubes and can't be fertilized. This means you can't get pregnant.
This surgery can be done in two ways. In laparoscopic surgery, a doctor puts a lighted tube (scope) and other tools through a few small cuts. These cuts are called incisions. One is just below your belly button. The other is lower on your abdomen. After this surgery, you will probably stay in the hospital for 2 to 4 hours. You can likely go back to work in 2 to 7 days.
The other type of surgery is called open surgery(mini-laparotomy). In this surgery, the doctor makes a larger incision above your pubic hairline or below your belly button. You will probably stay in the hospital for 1 to 3 days if you have this surgery. You can probably go back to work in about 1 to 2 weeks.
Surgery can be done right after you give birth (postpartum tubal ligation). Open surgery is usually used.
After the surgery, you should not be able to get pregnant. While there is a very small chance you could get pregnant, tubal ligation is a very reliable form of birth control.
Tubal ligation won't affect your menstrual cycle or when you start menopause. It also won't affect your desire for sex. But you could feel more relaxed about having sex. This is because you don't have to worry about getting pregnant.
After a tubal ligation, you will most likely go home the same day. Your surgeon will give you instructions about what to expect and when to call after the surgery.
A follow-up examination in 2 weeks is usually scheduled.
Tubal ligation is not 100% effective at preventing pregnancy.
Major problems from tubal ligation aren't common.
Although fewer problems occur with laparoscopy than with other kinds of tubal ligation surgery, these complications can be more serious. For example, in rare cases, the bowel or bladder is injured when the laparoscope is inserted.
The general risks of surgery are greater if you have diabetes, are overweight, smoke, or have a heart condition.
If a tubal ligation fails and you become pregnant, you have an increased risk of having an ectopic pregnancy.
CitationsRoncari D, Jou MY (2011). Female and male sterilization. In RA Hatcher, et al., eds., Contraceptive Technology, 20th rev. ed., pp. 435–482. New York: Ardent Media.
Current as of: February 11, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Sarah Marshall MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
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