Laparoscopy for Tubal Ligation

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What is a laparoscopy for tubal ligation?

A laparoscopy for tubal ligation is a procedure in which your health care provider closes a woman's fallopian tubes to prevent pregnancy. It is a type of sterilization for women. The fallopian tubes carry eggs to the uterus. Your provider uses a laparoscope (a thin tube with a light and tiny camera) to see the fallopian tubes. Your provider uses another thin tube with a tool for closing the tubes. This prevents pregnancy because it stops sperm from reaching and fertilizing eggs.

When is it used?

Health care providers generally recommend a permanent form of birth control, such as tubal ligation, only if:

  • You have had as many children as you want.
  • Being pregnant might be dangerous for you.
  • You have a high risk of passing on a serious genetic disease.
  • You cannot use other birth control methods.

What are the benefits of this procedure?

Closing of the fallopian tubes almost always results in lifelong sterilization. It is a very reliable form of birth control. Blocking of the tubes may also help to prevent a serious infection called pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). Lovemaking does not need to be interrupted by the insertion of a birth control device or spermicide. You do not have to take a daily pill or get shots for birth control.

What are the risks associated with this procedure?

Complications after tubal ligation are rare. There are some risks when you have general anesthesia. Discuss these risks with your provider.

  • Abdominal organs, glands, or blood vessels may be damaged. You may need abdominal surgery to repair them at the time of the laparoscopy.
  • The lining of the abdominal wall may become inflamed.
  • A blood clot may break off, enter the bloodstream, and clog an artery in the lung, pelvis, or legs. Rarely, a clot may break off and clog an artery in the heart or brain, causing a heart attack or stroke.
  • A regional anesthetic may not numb the area quite enough and you may feel some minor discomfort. Also, in rare cases, you may have an allergic reaction to the drug used in this type of anesthesia. In most cases regional anesthesia is considered safer than general anesthesia.
  • Scar tissue (adhesions) may form on the pelvic organs.
  • You may have some pain after the procedure.
  • You may have damage to a vein or artery that could cause serious bleeding.
  • You may have damage to part of your intestines or colon, which could result in an infection or track (fistula) between your intestine and skin, vagina or other organ and need additional surgery.
  • You may develop an infection or bleeding.
  • Even though tubal ligation is considered permanent sterilization, there is a slight possibility that a woman who has had a tubal ligation could get pregnant. If you have had a tubal ligation and you get pregnant, the chances are very thigh that the pregnancy is outside the uterus. You will then need surgery to remove the pregnancy.

How do I prepare for a laparoscopy?

Your provider may do a pregnancy test before the surgery. Be sure to tell your provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to an anesthetic.

Plan for your care and recovery after the operation. Allow for time to rest. Try to find other people to help you with your day-to-day duties.

Follow your health care provider's instructions about not smoking before and after the procedure. Smokers heal more slowly after surgery. They are also more likely to have breathing problems during surgery. For this reason, if you are a smoker, you should quit at least 2 weeks before the procedure. It is best to quit 6 to 8 weeks before surgery. Also, your wounds will heal much better if you do not smoke after surgery.

Follow any other instructions your provider gives you. If you are to have general anesthesia, eat a light meal, such as soup or salad, the night before midnight.  Do not eat or drink after midnight.  Do not even drink coffee, tea, or water.

What happens after the procedure?

You may stay in the hospital several hours or overnight to recover. Usually you go home the day of the surgery. The anesthetic may cause sleepiness or grogginess for a while. You may have a change in bowel habits for a few days. You may not be able to urinate right away and may have a catheter (a small tube) placed into your bladder through the urethra (the tube from the bladder to the outside).

You should avoid heavy activity such as lifting. Ask your health care provider how much you can lift, what other steps you should take, and when you should come back for a checkup.

When should I call Greenville OB/GYN?

Call our emergency number at any time if:

  • You develop a fever over 100 F (37.8 C).
  • You have bleeding or discharge from the vagina.
  • You have redness or tenderness around the surgical site.
  • You become dizzy and faint.
  • You have chest pain.
  • You have nausea and vomiting.
  • You become short of breath.
  • You have abdominal pain or swelling that gets worse.
  • You notice a green or yellow discharge from the surgical site.

Call during regular office hours if:

  • You have questions about the procedure or its results.
  • You want to make another appointment.

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