Understanding Laparoscopic Tubal Ligation

Laparoscopy Tubal Ligation
Photo Courtesy B. Wurn

A laparoscopic tubal ligation, also known as laparoscopic sterilization, is one of the two most common methods of tubal ligation (the other common permanent birth control procedure is a mini-laparotomy).

During the Procedure

Typically, you will be given general anesthesia. Your surgeon will make a small incision, about half an inch long, in or bellow the belly button. A harmless carbon dioxide gas is injected into your abdomen.

This raises the abdominal wall off of your pelvic organs, so your surgeon can get an unobstructed view—as well as room to operate. Next, a laparoscope (a small, thin, telescope-like instrument with a light) is inserted through the incision to view the tubes.

Your surgeon will then inserts a smaller device used to move, hold, and close off the fallopian tubes. This device could be inserted either through the laparoscope or through a second, tiny cut made just above the pubic hairline. The surgeon closes the fallopian tubes by using rings, clamps, clips, or by sealing them shut with an electric current (electrocautery). The laparoscope is take out, and your surgeon will then stitch the incision(s) closed.

How Long Does the Procedure Take?

A laparoscopic tubal ligation procedure takes about 30 minutes. There is very minimal scarring because the incision(s) are small. The smaller incisions also helps to reduce recovery time after surgery and lower the risk of complications.

In most cases, you will be able to leave the surgery facility within four hours after having a laparoscopic tubal ligation.

Recovery

After your procedure, you will most likely be placed in a recovery room. This way, the surgeon can observe you for any possible complications. You will receive recovery instructions when you are released.

Most women can go back to work or resume their normal activities about three days after the laparoscopic tubal ligation. You may also be told:

  • You can shower/bathe anytime after the procedure.
  • You may remove any bandages the day after your laparoscopic tubal ligation.
  • If you have steri-strips (bandages that look like tape), you can be remove these 2 to 3 days after the procedure.
  • You shouldn't drink alcohol or drive for at least 24 hours afterwards.
  • You can start to have sex again one week after the procedure.
  • You may have vaginal bleeding for a few days after the procedure.
  • It may take four to six weeks after your procedure for your period to return. When it does, you may have heavier bleeding and more discomfort than usual for your first two to three menstrual cycles.

Associated Discomforts

After having this procure, you may be in some pain. Your doctor should tell you what medications you can take if you are feeling pain. Also:

  • The gas that was injected into your abdomen may cause discomfort in your neck, shoulders, and chest. This can last for 24 to 72 hours after the procedure. A warm shower, a heating pad, or walking may help to relieve some of this discomfort.
  • Your abdomen may be swollen for several days after your procedure.
  • You may have some mild nausea. If this happens, some toast, crackers, soup, tea, soup, or gelatin, or crackers may help give you some relief.
  • You may also have a sore throat for a few days.

Continue Reading