What is Tubal Ligation?
Tubal ligation, also known as having your tubes tied or tubal sterilization, is a type of permanent birth control. During a tubal ligation, the fallopian tubes are cut or blocked to permanently prevent pregnancy. A tubal ligation actually disrupts the movement of the egg to the uterus for fertilization and blocks sperm from traveling up the fallopian tubes to the egg. This procedure does not affect your menstrual cycle. It can be done at any time, including after childbirth or in combination with another abdominal surgical procedure, such as a C-section. It is possible to reverse a tubal ligation, but reversal requires major surgery and isn’t always effective.
Why is Tubal Ligation done?
Tubal ligation is one of the most commonly used surgical sterilization procedures for women. Tubal ligation permanently prevents pregnancy, ending the need for any type of contraception. A tubal ligation may also decrease the risk of ovarian cancer. Tubal ligation isn’t appropriate for everyone. Your doctor at Professional Gynecological Services will make sure you fully understand the risks and benefits of this procedure. The doctor may also talk to you about other options, such as hysteroscopic sterilization. Hysteroscopic sterilization involves placing a small coil or other insert into the fallopian tubes through the cervix. The insert causes scar tissue to form and seal off the tubes.
How is Tubal Ligation done?
Tubal ligation is usually done with a laparoscope, which is a thin tube equipped with a camera lens and light, under short-acting general or regional anesthesia. It can be done while you’re recovering from vaginal childbirth or during a C-section delivery. It can also be done as an outpatient procedure referred to as interval tubal ligation which is separate from childbirth. If you have a tubal ligation as an outpatient procedure, a needle is inserted through your navel and your abdomen is inflated with gas (carbon dioxide or nitrous oxide). Then a small incision is made, and the laparoscope is inserted into your abdomen. In some cases, the doctor may make a second small incision to insert special grasping forceps. Using instruments passed through the abdominal wall, the doctor seals the fallopian tubes by destroying segments of the tubes or blocking them with plastic rings or clips.
What can you expect after the procedure?
After spending sometime in recovery, you will be allowed to go home. We recommend that women rest for a couple of days following this procedure. It’s typical to have some discomfort at the incision site. Common side effects also include abdominal pain or cramping, fatigue, dizziness, gassiness or bloating, shoulder pain and sore throat. You may take acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain relief, but avoid using aspirin, since it may promote bleeding. You may bathe 48 hours after the procedure, but avoid straining or rubbing the incision for one week and make sure to carefully dry the incision after bathing. Please avoid strenuous lifting and vaginal intercourse for 1-2 weeks. You should resume your normal activities gradually, as you begin to feel better. Your stitches will dissolve and won’t require removal. You should make an appointment to return to our office within 1-2 weeks following the procedure to make sure you’re healing properly.
What are the risks?
As with any surgery, there is always a risk when you are given general anesthesia. You may have a bad reaction to the medication used. Surgery itself may present problems with bleeding or infection. Because the procedure is performed by tiny instruments inserted into your abdomen, you may have injury to other organs in your body. However, tubal ligation is considered to be a very safe procedure with an overall complication rate of less than 1%. Tubal ligation does not prevent against STD’s including HIV.
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