What is Tubal Ligation?
Tubal ligation (or “tying the tubes”) is surgery to close a woman’s fallopian tubes to prevent pregnancy. A tubal ligation should only be done if a woman never wants to become pregnant again. These tubes are the path an egg takes from the ovary to the uterus. A woman who has this surgery can no longer get pregnant.
Tubal ligation is done in a hospital or outpatient clinic. A patient may receive general anesthesia. She will be asleep and unable to feel pain. Alternatively, she may be awake and given local or spinal anesthesia. She will likely also receive medicine to make her sleepy.
The procedure takes about 30 minutes. The surgeon will make one or two small surgical cuts in the belly, usually around the belly button. Carbon dioxide gas may be pumped into the belly to expand it. This helps the surgeon see the uterus and fallopian tubes. The surgeon will insert a narrow tube with a tiny camera on the end (laparoscope) into the belly. Instruments to block off the tubes will be inserted through the laparoscope or through a separate, very small cut. The tubes are either burned shut (cauterized) or clamped off with a small clip or ring (band).
Tubal ligation can also be done right after you have a baby through a small cut in the navel or during a cesarean section.
Tubal ligation has a low risk of complications. Risks include bleeding, infection, and damage to surrounding organs. While a tubal ligation is considered a permanent procedure, there is a one in three hundred risk of failure. Occasionally, a small channel reopens in the tube. If this does happen, there is a risk of an “ectopic” or tubal pregnancy occurring or of a pregnancy in the uterus.
What to Expect after procedure?
You will probably go home the same day you have the procedure. You may have many symptoms that last 2 to 4 days. As long as they are not severe, these symptoms are normal:
- Shoulder pain – this is caused by the gas used in the abdomen to help the surgeon see better during the procedure. You can relieve the gas by lying down.
- Scratchy or sore throat
- Swollen belly (bloated) and cramping
- Some discharge or bleeding from your vagina
You should be able to do most of your normal activities after 2 or 3 days. However, you should avoid heavy lifting for 3 weeks.
Guidelines to follow, after the procedure:
Keep your incision areas clean, dry, and covered. Change your dressings (bandages) as your doctor or nurse tells you.
- Do not take baths, soak in a hot tub, or go swimming until your skin has healed.
- Avoid heavy exercise for several days after the procedure. Try not to lift anything heavier than 10 pounds (about a gallon jug of milk).
- You can have sexual intercourse as soon as you feel ready. For most women, this is usually within a week. If a tubal ligation is done after the birth of the baby intercourse needs to be delayed until instructed by your physician.
- You may eat your normal foods.
Notify your doctor if any of the following occurs:
- Severe belly pain, or if the pain you’re having is getting worse and does not get better with pain medicines
- Heavy bleeding from your vagina on the first day, or your bleeding does not lessen after the first day
- Fever higher than 100.5 °F or chills
- Pain, shortness of breath, feeling faint
- Nausea or vomiting
Note: – Also call your doctor if your incisions are red or swollen, become painful, or there is a discharge coming from them.