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What is Tubal Ligation?
Tubal ligation is a surgical procedure to close the fallopian tubes in order to prevent pregnancy. Tubal ligation is a permanent procedure and the woman will no longer be able to get pregnant after the surgery. After tubal ligation the egg is prevented from reaching the uterus and sperm is blocked from meeting the egg but tubal ligation doesn't affect the menstrual cycle. Tubal ligation is also called tubal sterilization or ‘having your tubes tied’.
What are the types of Tubal Ligation?
The most common tubal ligation procedures are:
How long will Tubal Ligation last?
- Laparoscopy: During a laparoscopy, the surgeon cuts once or twice around the navel and inserts a surgical viewing tool called a laparoscope into the belly. The surgeon uses instruments to block the fallopian tubes, either by cauterization (burning) or small clamps.
- Mini-laparotomy: This procedure is completed through an incision less than two inches in size. This form of tubal ligation is also called a mini-lap.
- Postpartum tubal ligation: Tubal ligation can also be carried out straight after the woman gives birth, through a tiny cut below the navel. Postpartum tubal ligation can be carried out during a Cesarean section.
- Essure procedure: This procedure involves the use of tubal implants. The Essure System is a small metal spring-like implant that blocks the fallopian tubes. The devices are inserted into the two fallopian tubes through the vagina and up into the uterus, in a non-surgical procedure. Scar tissue covers the implant and blocks the fallopian tube.
Tubal ligation is a permanent birth control method. Because it cannot be easily reversed, tubal ligation is not recommended unless you are completely sure you don’t want to have a child in the future.
Is Tubal Ligation 100% full proof?
Tubal ligation is not 100 percent guaranteed to prevent pregnancy permanently and around 5 in 1,000 women become pregnant following one year. In the 10 years following the procedure, 18 in 1,000 women will get pregnant. With implants, less than 1 percent of women become pregnant after two years.
What surgeon performs Tubal Ligation?
Tubal ligation is usually carried out by a gynaecologist, a general practitioner or a general surgeon.
Tubal implants are performed in a doctor’s surgery or an outpatient’s clinic.
How popular is this type of surgery?
Around 700,000 tubal ligation procedures are carried out in the United States every year. 50 percent of these procedures are completed right after childbirth. Laparoscopy is the most popular non-pregnancy related procedure.
What are the follow-up tests?
If the tubal ligation procedure is carried out by laparoscopy you will not require any further tests to make sure you won’t get pregnant again. If your tubal ligation was an Essure implant procedure, you will have a test three months later to be certain the fallopian tubes are blocked.
Duration of procedure/surgery:
Approximately 30 minutes.
None. Most women go home on the same day. Few will need an overnight stay.
Laparoscopy is carried out under general anaesthetic. The laparotomy procedure or mini-laparotomy is either performed under general or regional anaesthetic/ epidural. You don’t need a general anaesthe
You should rest for 24 hours on return home from the procedure. Most women return to levels of full activity after a few days.
It is unlikely that you will experience any complications after the tubal ligation procedure.
Uncommon risks include:
- Bleeding (about 1.5 percent after a mini-lap and 0.9 percent after laparoscopy)
- Infection (around 11 percent of women after a mini-lap and six percent after laparoscopy)
- Damage to the bowel or urinary tract
- Tubal implants may not be inserted properly the first time and you may need a follow-up procedure to re-insert.
- If a tubal ligation procedure fails you are at greater risk of an eptopic pregnancy.
- You may experience pain and tenderness after the tubal ligation. Light vaginal bleeding is common. Take painkillers to relieve the discomfort.
- You can shower 24 hours after the laparoscopy.
- You can return to sexual intercourse after about a week, or any time before if it doesn’t cause you pain.
- Try not to lift heavy objects for three weeks following the procedure.
- If you’ve had the Essure implant procedure you need to use another form of contraception for three months.
Learn more about Tubal ligation