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Tubal Ligation


What you need to know about a tubal ligation:

A tubal ligation is surgery to close your fallopian tubes to prevent pregnancy.

Female Reproductive System

How to prepare for a tubal ligation:

Your surgeon will talk to you about how to prepare for surgery. He or she may tell you not to eat or drink anything within 8 hours of your surgery. He or she will tell you which medicines to take or not take on the day of your surgery. Arrange for someone to drive you home and stay with you after surgery.

What will happen during a tubal ligation:

  • You may be given general anesthesia to keep you asleep and free from pain during surgery. You may instead be given regional anesthesia or local anesthesia. Regional anesthesia numbs the lower part of your body. Local anesthesia numbs the surgery area. With local anesthesia, you may still feel pressure or pushing during surgery, but you should not feel any pain. You may have a minilaparotomy or laparoscopic tubal ligation. During a minilaparotomy, your surgeon will make a small incision in your lower abdomen.
  • During laparoscopic tubal ligation, your surgeon will make one or more small incisions in your abdomen. A laparoscope and other instruments will be put into your abdomen through the small incisions. The laparoscope is a long metal tube with a light and camera on the end. Your abdomen will be filled with a gas. This allows your surgeon to see inside your abdomen more clearly. Your fallopian tubes will be cut and closed with thread. Your healthcare provider may instead seal your tubes with heat, or with a clip or ring. After the surgery is done, your incisions are closed with stitches or staples. The incisions may be covered with a bandage.

What will happen after a tubal ligation:

You will have abdominal pain and cramps for the first few days after surgery. You may feel dizzy, nauseated, bloated, or have gas. You may also have pain in your shoulders or near your ribs if gas was put in your abdomen.

Risks of a tubal ligation:

You may bleed more than expected or get an infection. Blood vessels or organs such as your bowel or bladder could be injured during surgery. Although pregnancy is unlikely after a tubal ligation, there is still a small chance that you may get pregnant. If pregnancy does occur, there is an increased risk for an ectopic pregnancy (tubal pregnancy). You may get a blood clot in your leg or arm. This may become life-threatening.

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) for any of the following:

  • You cough up blood.
  • You feel lightheaded, short of breath, and have chest pain.

Seek care immediately if:

  • Your arm or leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.
  • You have severe abdominal pain.

Call your surgeon or gynecologist if:

  • You have a fever.
  • You have heavy bleeding from your incisions.
  • Your stitches or staples come apart.
  • You have trouble urinating, burning when you urinate, or bloody urine.
  • Your incision is swollen, red, or has pus coming from it.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


You may need any of the following:

  • Acetaminophen decreases pain and fever. It is available without a doctor's order. Ask how much to take and how often to take it. Follow directions. Read the labels of all other medicines you are using to see if they also contain acetaminophen, or ask your doctor or pharmacist. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly. Do not use more than 4 grams (4,000 milligrams) total of acetaminophen in one day.
  • NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask your healthcare provider if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions.
  • Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask your healthcare provider how to take this medicine safely. Some prescription pain medicines contain acetaminophen. Do not take other medicines that contain acetaminophen without talking to your healthcare provider. Too much acetaminophen may cause liver damage. Prescription pain medicine may cause constipation. Ask your healthcare provider how to prevent or treat constipation.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.


  • Avoid strenuous activities such as lifting heavy objects and intense exercise for 7 days after your surgery. Ask when it is safe for you to drive, return to work, and return to other regular activities.
  • Do not strain during bowel movements. High-fiber foods and extra liquids can help you prevent constipation. Examples of high-fiber foods are fruit and bran. Prune juice and water are good liquids to drink.

  • Do not have sex for at least 1 week. If your tubal ligation surgery was done after you had a baby, you will need to wait longer. Ask your healthcare provider when you can have sex.
  • Do not go into a bath or hot tub for 10 days or as directed. Take a shower instead of taking a bath.

Incision wound care:

Care for the wound as directed. Carefully wash the wound with soap and water. Dry the area and put on new, clean bandages as directed. Change your bandages when they get wet or dirty.

Follow up with your surgeon or gynecologist within 7 to 10 days or as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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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.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.