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Tubal Ligation - Female Sterilization 

Introduction
Tubal ligation is usually a permanent form of birth control.  It is a female sterilization procedure commonly referred to as “tying the tubes.”  It is not recommended as a temporary or reversible form of birth control, and should only be used by women that are certain they do not want to have children.  Tubal ligation is usually an outpatient surgery with a short recovery time.
 
The internal female reproductive system includes the ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, cervix, and vagina.  The ovaries are two small organs that produce eggs (ova) and hormones.  An ovary typically releases one mature egg each month.  Two fallopian tubes extend from near the ovaries to the uterus.  The fallopian tubes transport the mature eggs to the uterus.  A tubal ligation interrupts the fallopian tubes so that an egg does not have contact with sperm, and pregnancy cannot occur.  You will still ovulate following tubal ligation, but the eggs will be absorbed by your body instead of traveling through the fallopian tubes and into the uterus.

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Treatment
Tubal ligation is usually an outpatient procedure that may be performed at a hospital or outpatient surgery center.  You will be sedated with general anesthesia and will need to have someone else drive you home following your surgery.  Tubal ligation can also be done immediately following a cesarean section or vaginal childbirth.
 
Your surgeon will make a few small incisions in your belly button area.  A laparoscope is used for the procedure.  A laparoscope is a type of endoscope.  It consists of a thin tube with a light and viewing instrument.  Images from the laparoscope may be sent to a video monitor to guide the surgeon during the surgery.  Thin surgical instruments are sent through the laparoscope and the fallopian tubes are closed with a clip or cauterized.  Cauterization uses heat to burn the fallopian tubes to cause scar tissue to close them.  When your procedure is complete, your incisions are closed with a few stitches.
 
Your doctor will recommend or prescribe pain medication to relieve discomfort following your procedure.  Your doctor will provide you with specific instructions, but typically women are advised to avoid strenuous exercising for several days.  Most women return to work within a few days.  You will have a follow-up appointment to have your stitches removed.

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This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.

The iHealthSpot patient education library was written collaboratively by the iHealthSpot editorial team which includes Senior Medical Authors Dr. Mary Car-Blanchard, OTD/OTR/L and Valerie K. Clark, and the following editorial advisors: Steve Meadows, MD, Ernie F. Soto, DDS, Ronald J. Glatzer, MD, Jonathan Rosenberg, MD, Christopher M. Nolte, MD, David Applebaum, MD, Jonathan M. Tarrash, MD, and Paula Soto, RN/BSN. This content complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information. The library commenced development on September 1, 2005 with the latest update/addition on April 13th, 2016. For information on iHealthSpot’s other services including medical website design, visit www.iHealthSpot.com.