What is tubal ligation?
Tubal Ligation is a form of birth control in which a woman’s fallopian tubes are surgically closed. Normally, the fallopian tubes carry the eggs to the uterus. Closing the tubes with surgery prevents pregnancy.
It is important to realize that sterilization is usually permanent and can not be reversed. However, if the fallopian tubes are clamped or tied, a woman may possibly become fertile again through the use of microsurgery.
A woman also becomes sterile if her uterus is removed (a hysterectomy). A woman cannot become fertile again after a hysterectomy.
When is it used?
Doctors generally recommend sterilization in the following situations:
A couple has had as many children as they want.
Your life may be endangered by pregnancy.
There is a high risk of passing on a serious hereditary disease.
In the U.S. nearly one in every four married women between the age of 15 and 44 chooses sterilization as a means of birth control.
What happens during the procedure?
Laparoscopy is the most common procedures used to seal the tubes. Surgery is done under a general anesthetic.
A hysterectomy is an operation to remove all or part of the uterus. Sometimes the ovaries and fallopian tubes are also removed; this is called an oophorectomy. Doctors do not recommend a hysterectomy unless there are reasons other than sterilization for having it.
What happens after the surgical closing of the tubes?
You may feel some pain or discomfort for 24 to 48 hours after a laparoscopy.
The doctor will want to see you again to be sure that you are healing properly, usually around 2 weeks after your surgery.
If you were using birth control pills before the sterilization, you may notice menstrual changes after the procedure. These menstrual changes are not caused by the surgery. They occur because you are no longer taking the birth control pills.
What are the benefits of this procedure?
Sealing of the fallopian tubes almost always results in permanent sterilization and is a very reliable form of birth control.
What are the risks associated with this procedure?
Complications after sterilization are rare. In some cases, an ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy outside the uterus) may occur, particularly if the fallopian tubes were burned. Other risks include infection, possible bleeding, and scar tissue formation (adhesions).
When should I call the doctor?
Call the doctor immediately if:
You develop a fever
You have bleeding or discharge from the vagina.
You are bleeding around the surgical site.
You notice a green or yellow discharge from the surgical site.
You develop redness or tenderness around the surgical site.
Call the doctor during office hours if:
You have questions about the procedure or its result.
You want to make another appointment.