Laparoscopy Tubal Ligation
Laparoscopy Tubal Ligation. Photo Courtesy B. Wurn

A laparoscopy, 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).

What Happens During a Laparoscopy?

A tubal laparoscopy is considered to be a minimally invasive procedure. Typically, you will be given general or regional 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 a Laparoscopy Take?

A tubal laparoscopy 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 your laparoscopy.

Recovering from a Laparoscopy:

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 laparoscopy. You may also be told:

  • You can shower/bathe anytime after the procedure.
  • You may remove any bandages the day after your laparoscopy.
  • 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 after your laparoscopy.
  • You can start to have sex again one week after the procedure.
  • You may have vaginal bleeding for up to 1 month after this procedure.
  • It may take 4 to 6 weeks after your laparoscopy 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.

Discomforts Associated with a Laparoscopy:

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 laparoscopy.
  • 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.

Pronunciation: Laparoscopy: lap·a·ros·co·py (lăp'ə-rŏs'kə-pē)

A Laparoscopy is Also Known As:

Laparoscopic sterilization, tubal ligation, tubes tied, laparoscopic tubal, female sterilization, bandaid surgery, keyhole surgery

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