Laparoscopic Tubal Ligation
What you should know
- A fallopian tube is attached to each side of your uterus (womb). When one of your ovaries releases an egg, the egg travels through the fallopian tube to your uterus. If the egg is fertilized by a sperm from a man, you become pregnant. A laparoscopic (LAP-er-ah-SKAW-pik) tubal ligation is surgery to close your fallopian tubes. It is also called female sterilization or having your "tubes tied". Caregivers use a laparoscope to do the surgery. This scope is a long metal tube with a magnifying camera and a light on the end. It is put into your abdomen through one or more small incisions (cuts).
- During a tubal ligation, your fallopian tubes are burned shut, cut, or closed with a type of clip. Immediately after your tubes are closed, sperm will not be able to reach an egg and cause pregnancy. A tubal ligation is an effective and permanent (lifelong) form of birth control. Before having this surgery, you must be sure that you never want to become pregnant in the future. You will still have monthly periods after your tubal ligation. A tubal ligation will not protect you from sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as AIDS or herpes.
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There are always risks with surgery. You may bleed more than usual, have trouble breathing, or get an infection. Blood vessels or organs such as your bowel or bladder could be injured during surgery. Your caregivers will watch you closely for these problems. Although pregnancy is unlikely after a tubal ligation, there is a small chance of it. If pregnancy does occur, there is an increased risk of having an ectopic pregnancy (tubal pregnancy). A tubal ligation can be reversed but it does not mean you will be able to get pregnant again. Call your caregiver if you are worried or have questions about your surgery and care.
The week before your surgery:
- Ask your caregiver if you need to stop taking any prescribed or over-the-counter (OTC) medicine before your surgery. Medicines you may need to stop taking include aspirin, ibuprofen, or prescription blood thinners. Do not stop any of your medications without asking your caregiver first.
- You may need to have tests done before the surgery, such as blood tests. Ask your caregiver for more information about these and other tests that you may need. Write down the date, time, and location of each test.
- Arrange to have a family member or friend drive you home after surgery.
The night before your surgery:
- Your stomach needs to be completely empty (no food or water) for 6 to 12 hours before your surgery.
- Ask caregivers about directions for eating and drinking.
- If you have diabetes, ask your caregiver for special instructions about what you may eat and drink before your surgery. If you use medicine to treat diabetes, your caregiver may have special instructions about using it before surgery. You may need to check your blood sugar more often before and after having surgery.
The day of your surgery:
- Write down the correct date, time, and location of your surgery.
- Medicines: Ask your caregiver before using any medicine on the day of your surgery. If you do need to take medicine by mouth on the day of your surgery, take it with as little water as possible. Bring a list of your medicines or the containers with you to the hospital. You may be asked what time you last took your medicines. Tell your caregiver about any herbal supplements or over-the-counter medicines you have taken recently. Tell your caregiver if you have any allergies.
- Bathing: Take a complete bath or shower and wash your hair before your surgery. You may not be able to fully bathe until a few days after the surgery. Remove any nail polish.
- Contacts, dentures, and hearing aids: Do not wear contact lenses the day of your surgery. You may wear your glasses. If you regularly wear dentures or hearing aids, wear them to the hospital. Your caregivers will need for you to hear them, and talk to them clearly before the surgery. You may have to remove them before going to the operating room.
is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.
What will happen:
- You will be asked to change into a hospital gown. Caregivers may ask you to remove any jewelry, hairpins, glasses, and dental plates. You will be taken on a cart to the operating room. You may be hooked up to one or more machines to monitor your heart, blood pressure, and breathing. You will have an IV tube placed in your vein. The IV is used to give you medicine or liquids.
- Caregivers will clean your abdomen with a special soap. Some hair in the surgery area may be shaved. If general anesthesia is used, you will not be awake during your surgery. If spinal or regional anesthesia is used, you will be awake but unable to feel pain. Your fallopian tubes are then burned shut, cut, or closed with a type of clip.
After your surgery:
You will be taken to a recovery room. There, caregivers will watch you closely until the anesthesia wears off. Do not get out of bed until your caregiver says it is OK. If you are staying in the hospital, you will be taken back to your room. You may be allowed to go home after your surgery if you are not having any problems. A bandage will cover the staples or stitches closing the incisions in your abdomen.
This is a room where your family and friends can wait until you are ready for visitors after your surgery. If your family leaves the hospital, ask them to leave a phone number where they can be reached. If you are going home the same day of your surgery, someone else will need to drive.
Contact a caregiver if
- You cannot be at your appointment on time.
- You have questions or concerns about your surgery.
- You have a fever.
- You took any medicine that you were told to stop, such as a blood thinner. Your surgery may need to be done later, after you have stopped taking the medicine for a period of time.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.