What Is a Mini-Laparotomy?

A Surgery for Getting Your "Tubes Tied"

Mini-Laparotomy. Steve Debenport/Vetta/Getty Images

A mini-laparotomy (or mini-lap) is a method of permanent birth control. It is, essentially, one of the ways to have your "tubes tied" and many women choose to have it done soon after giving birth. This is a very common procedure that is shown to be safe and highly effective in preventing future pregnancies.

What Is a Mini-Laparotomy?

A mini-laparotomy is one of the two most common methods of tubal ligation, a form of permanent contraception.

The other procedure is a laparoscopy and both are elective surgeries.

The mini-lap is less invasive and a surgery that many women prefer to have done while still in the hospital after delivery. It can be done immediately or before being discharged from the hospital. Most often, it is within 48 hours of childbirth.

Complications from either mini-laparotomy or laparoscopy are rare. If they do occur, they tend to be caused by complications associated with the pregnancy itself.

Though still frequently used, tubal ligation was more common in the last decades of the 1900s. The numbers have decreased because of access to reversible forms of birth control. These newer methods give a woman the choice to change her mind in the future. However, many older women are okay with the permanent options. 

The majority of women who choose permanent contraception are over the age of 35. Among women who give birth, around 8 percent choose to have their tubes tied.

It's also estimated that 25 percent of women using contraceptives rely on female sterilization methods like mini-lap. Needless to say, if you choose to have a min-lap, you're not alone.

How Is a Mini-Lap Performed?

Many surgeons prefer to perform a tubal ligation shortly after childbirth. This is because you are already in the hospital and your abdominal wall is relaxed.

Also, pregnancy pushes the top of your uterus near the belly button where the incision needs to be made. This allows for easier access to the fallopian tubes.

For a mini-laparotomy, gas and a laparoscope are not used as they would be in laparotomy. You will be given a general or regional anesthesia.

During the procedure, the surgeon makes a small incision at or above the pubic hairline. She then pulls the fallopian tubes up and either into or out of the incision. A device is used to close off the tubes, either by tying, cutting, or sealing. Your tubes are then put back into place and stitches are used to close the incision.

In general, most women recover in just a few days. The odds of becoming pregnant after a tubal ligation is 1 1/2 in 1000, so it is a very effective birth control method.


Daniels K, Daugherty J, Jones J, Mosher W. Current Contraceptive Use and Variation by  Selected Characteristics Among Women Aged 15–44:  United States, 2011–2013. National Health Statistics Reports. 2014;86.

Moss C, Isley MM. Sterilization: A Review and Update. Obstetrics & Gynecology Clinics of North America. 2015 Dec;42(4):713-24. doi:10.1016/j.ogc.2015.07.003. Epub 2015 Sep 16.

Patil E, Jensen JT. Update on Permanent Contraception Options for Women. Current Opinion in Obstetrics and Gynecology. 201527(6):465-470. doi:10.1097/GCO.0000000000000213

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