Tubal Ligation—Laparoscopic Surgery
(Surgical Sterilization; TL; Tubal Sterilization; Sterilization, Tubal; Sterilization, Surgical)
by Editorial Staff and Contributors
Fallopian tubes are tubes that lead from the ovaries to the uterus. A tubal ligation is a sterilization procedure to close the tubes.
Reasons for Procedure
Tubal ligation is done to prevent pregnancy. If you have this surgery, you will still ovulate and menstruate. The cut or blocked tubes keep the egg and sperm separated. When the egg and sperm cannot meet, fertilization does not happen and pregnancy cannot occur.
This surgery is not recommended as a temporary or reversible procedure. Make sure you consider all the birth control options for you and your partner.
Possible Complications TOP
Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems like:
Some factors that may increase the risk of problems include:
What to Expect TOP
Prior to Procedure
Your doctor will do a physical exam and pregnancy test.
Leading up to your procedure:
You may receive one of the following:
Description of the Procedure
The doctor will make a small cut in the area of the navel. A harmless gas will then be inserted through this cut and into your abdomen. The gas will inflate the abdominal cavity. This will make it easier for the doctor to see the internal organs. The doctor will then insert a long, thin tool called a laparoscope. This tool will contain a small camera and lighting system, which will let the doctor see inside the abdomen. The doctor may make a second cut just above the pubic hair to insert a tool for grasping the fallopian tubes. The tubes will be closed in one of the following ways:
The tools will then be removed and the openings will be closed with stitches.
In some cases, the doctor may switch to an open surgery. This involves making a larger incision.
Immediately After Procedure
You will be brought into the recovery room. You will rest there until the anesthesia wears off. You may receive pain medication.
How Long Will It Take?
How Much Will It Hurt?
Anesthesia will keep you comfortable and pain free during the procedure. You may feel bloated and have pain in your shoulder or chest because of the air inserted into your abdomen. Ask your doctor about medication to help with the pain after the procedure.
At the Care Center
You can usually go home the same day. You may need to stay longer if you have complications.
To help ensure a smooth recovery:
Call Your Doctor TOP
Call your doctor if any of the following occur:
If you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.
US Department of Health and Human Services Women's Health
Canadian Women's Health Network
The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada
Peterson HB. Sterilization. Obstet Gynecol . 2008;111:189-203.
Sterilization for women and men. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists website. Available at: http://www.acog.or... . Accessed April 22, 2013.
Sterilization for women (tubal sterilization). Planned Parenthood website. Available at: http://www.planned... . Accessed April 22, 2013.
Tubal sterilization. American Academy of Family Physicians Family Doctor website. Available at: http://familydocto... . Updated July 2010. Accessed April 22, 2013.
Tubal sterilization. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what . Updated April 16, 2013. Accessed April 22, 2013.
6/3/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us : Mills E, Eyawo O, Lockhart I, Kelly S, Wu P, Ebbert JO. Smoking cessation reduces postoperative complications: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Med . 2011;124(2):144-154.e8.
Last reviewed June 2013 by Andrea Chisholm
Last Updated: 6/24/2013