Types of Surgeries

Tubal ligation - Female Sterilization Surgery

Overview

What is tubal ligation? In the broadest of terms, it is a surgical procedure to prevent pregnancy. You may have heard it referred to as, “getting your tubes tied.” The end result is female sterilization, or the inability to conceive future children.

Why?

Why undergo a tubal ligation procedure? Choosing this type of birth control may be a good fit for you if you are an adult woman in a stable relationship in which both partners agree to have permanent birth control. You may also choose to undergo this procedure if you have a family history of complications during pregnancy, or if you do not want to pass down genetic diseases to a potential child.

A tubal ligation is not a good fit for you if you have reservations about changing your mind in the future. While this procedure is considered permanent, it can be reversed. Reversal does not guarantee pregnancy.

All surgeries, whether they be big or small, carry risks. For a tubal ligation these typically include:

Risks

Risks of Surgery

  • Common complications include nausea, vomiting, urinary retention, sore throat, and headaches.
  • More severe complications include heart attack, stroke, pneumonia, and blood clots.
  • Infection of the surgical site.
  • Excessive bleeding (internal and external).
  • Pooling of the blood in the surgical site (hematoma).
  • Pain, swelling, itchiness or tenderness at the site of incision.
  • Fever.
  • Headaches and drowsiness after the surgery.
  • Development of painful keloids (raised scarring) long-term.
  • Development of an ectopic pregnancy, or when an egg becomes fertilized outside the uterus.
  • Incomplete closing of a fallopian tube may result in an unwanted pregnancy.

What to expect prior to your surgery

You may need to take antibiotics before surgery. Routine blood work is usually not needed but may be ordered prior to surgery based on the patient's age and the presence of any existing medical problems.

Before your surgery, a nurse or doctor will plan the site, clean the affected area, and consult with you for any questions you may have. General anesthesia will then be administered under the supervision of an anesthesiologist and your surgeon.

The procedure itself may take half an hour to an hour to perform, depending on the complexity of the patient's condition. Typically, your doctor will give you a heads up on how long the procedure should last.

The procedure

There are numerous ways to perform a tubal ligation. At Clinique Michel Gagner, we perform the procedure laparoscopically. That means you will be put under general anesthesia, your abdomen will be inflated, surgical instruments will be inserted through small incisions, and the surgery will be performed through the use of a laparoscope - a small camera that live streams to a television, which the surgeon uses to spatially map your abdomen and gives them a close-up view of your insides.

Using their surgical instruments, your surgeon will either cut, tie, clamp, band, or seal off your tubes. Once this is done, the team will close the incision sites with stitches or surgical glue.

After the procedure

Recovery time for a tubal ligation will vary, but you should feel back to normal within a few weeks. Residual pain may last up to a week after surgery. Be sure to keep the incision area clean and dry to avoid the possibility of infection. Itchiness or soreness is common, however let your doctor know if you experience swelling or excessive pain.

You will need to arrange for a ride home the day of your surgery and we recommend someone stay with you for the first 24 hours at home. When you leave the facility after surgery, we will want you to go home and rest. Avoid making any other plans on the day of your surgery. Starting the following day, you can increase your activity as you feel up to it.

You will likely be given a prescription for pain medication following your surgery. The recovery nurse will discuss a pain control plan following surgery specific to you and your needs including activities like ice applied over incisions and a medication regimen. Oftentimes we will recommend taking Tylenol and Advil (same as Motrin, Ibuprofen) or Aleve in addition to the narcotic pain medication.

Did you know we have a support group?

Your questions and concerns have most likely been asked and answered in our support group. Moderated by our dietitian's, nurses, and staff. We provide you with reliable patient education and resources to help you throughout this life-changing process.