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Tubal Ligation and Tubal Surgery

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Tubal Ligation and Tubal Surgery

Overview

Tubal ligation prevents an egg from traveling from the ovaries through the fallopian tubes and blocks sperm from traveling up the fallopian tubes to the egg. The procedure doesn't affect your menstrual cycle.

Tubal ligation can be done at any time, or in combination with another abdominal surgery, such as a C-section.

A salpingectomy is removing the tube in their entirety. Your doctor will determine what procedure is best for you.

Tubal Ligation is a non-invasive procedure that seals off a woman's fallopian tubes that carry an egg from the ovaries to the uterus. By blocking these tubes, where fertilization usually occurs, sperm is unable to reach the egg to fertilize it. The procedure uses two small metal springs (micro-inserts) that are inserted into the fallopian tubes. This causes scar tissue to form and permanently blocks off the tubes. The procedure is performed in an outpatient environment.

It takes about 30 minutes, and requires minimal anesthesia. Patients should be aware that the procedure provides permanent birth control and is NOT reversible.

Why Do Tubal Ligation

It is one of the most commonly used surgical sterilization procedures for women. If you are seeking permanent birth control tubal ligation may be a good option for you. However, it does not protect against sexually transmitted infections.

Tubal ligation may also decrease your risk of ovarian cancer, especially if the entire fallopian tubes are removed.

What You Can Expect

Tubal ligation can be done:

  • During a C-section
  • Anytime as an outpatient procedure

Before The Procedure

You will be asked to take a pregnancy test to make sure you're not pregnant.

During The Procedure

If you have an interval tubal ligation as an outpatient procedure, an incision is made through your belly button so your abdomen can be inflated with gas (carbon dioxide or nitrous oxide). Then a laparoscope is inserted into your abdomen.

In most cases, your doctor will make 1 or 2 additional small incisions to insert special instruments through the abdominal wall. Your doctor uses these instruments to seal off  or remove the fallopian tubes.

If you have a tubal ligation during a C-section, your doctor will use the same incision that was made to deliver the baby. This may all 5-10 minutes to your surgery time.

After The Procedure

If gas was used during tubal ligation, it will be removed when the procedure is done. You may be allowed to go home several hours after an interval tubal ligation. Having a tubal ligation immediately following childbirth doesn't usually involve a longer hospital stay.

You'll have some discomfort at the incision site. You might also have:

  • Abdominal pain or cramping
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Gassiness or bloating
  • Shoulder pain

Your doctor will discuss management of any post-procedure pain with you, before you go home from the hospital.

Avoid the bath for 3 days after the procedure. Avoid straining or rubbing the incision as well. Carefully dry the incision after bathing.

Avoid heavy lifting and sex until your doctor informs you that it's safe to do so. Resume your normal activities gradually as you begin to feel better. Your stitches will dissolve and won't require removal. Check with your doctor to see if you need a follow-up appointment.

How You Prepare

Before you have a tubal ligation, your doctor will talk to you about your reasons for wanting sterilization. Together, you'll discuss factors that could make you regret the decision, such as a young age or change in marital status.

Your doctor will also review the following with you:

  • Risks and benefits of reversible and permanent methods of contraception
  • Details of the procedure
  • Causes and probability of sterilization failure
  • The best time to do the procedure — for instance, shortly after childbirth or in combination with another abdominal surgery, such as a C-section

If you're not having a tubal ligation during a C-section, continue using a reliable form of contraception until your doctor say you may stop.

Results

Tubal ligation is a safe and effective form of permanent birth control. But it doesn't work for everyone. Fewer than 1 out of 100 women will get pregnant in the first year after the procedure. The younger you are at the time it's done, the more likely it is to fail.

If you do conceive after having a tubal ligation, there's a risk of having an ectopic pregnancy. This means the fertilized egg implants outside the uterus, usually in a fallopian tube. An ectopic pregnancy requires immediate medical treatment. The pregnancy cannot continue to birth. If you think you're pregnant at any time after a tubal ligation, contact your health care provider immediately.

Keep in mind that although tubal ligation reversal is possible, the reversal procedure is complicated and may not work.

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