A tubal ligation is an abdominal operation performed with anesthesia. It is a surgical procedure that women seek out to achieve permanent sterilization. Your body’s ability to have children is disabled by a surgeon, who severs and ties the fallopian tubes. Tubal ligation is the second most popular form of contraception (among women) in the United States; about twenty percent of women choose tubal ligation as their preferred method of contraception.
Your fallopian tubes are a pair of tubes on either side of your reproductive system. These tubes connect your ovaries to your uterus. During ovulation, fallopian tubes transport ova, or your “eggs,” from your ovaries to your uterus. During fertilization, your fallopian tubes carry sperm cells to the ova previously released in your uterus.
Having your fallopian tubes removed completely (rather than tied and left inside your body) could lower your risk of developing ovarian cancers. Fallopian tubes are a true source of some of the deadliest ovarian cancers, and their removal is a potential method of prevention.
A tubal ligation is a permanent surgical procedure performed to stop a woman from getting pregnant. Because a surgeon closes the tubes that connect male sperm and female eggs during fertilization, sperm and egg do not meet. Your egg then dissolves and absorbs into your body. If you are looking for a permanent sterilization to ensure you never become pregnant again, you are a candidate for tubal ligation.
After you are put to sleep, your surgeon will clip your fallopian tubes and seal them in some way, either by burning them, cutting them, or tying them. Different variations of a tubal ligation are:
- Caesarean/Birth-Related: This type of tubal ligation is done during a cesarean section, or immediately after you have given birth. This category of tubal ligation accounts for about half of female sterilizations. Either a laparoscopy or a mini-laparotomy can be performed.
- Laparoscopy: Laparoscopic tubal ligation offers your surgeon the opportunity to explore your pelvic and abdominal anatomy more easily and painlessly. This procedure is minimally invasive. Your surgeon will make multiple small incisions on your abdomen, and he or she will examine the inside of your abdomen using a laparoscope, a tube with a camera at one end. Your surgeon can see the inside of your abdomen in great detail through the camera, which will be hooked up to a tv monitor. Your surgeon uses this monitor, surgical instruments, and the laparoscope to cut and tie your fallopian tubes as necessary. Laparoscopic surgery allows for a faster recovery and a shorter operating time.
- Mini-laparotomy: A procedure that involves making a small incision on your abdomen just above your pubic hair. If you have given birth within two days of your mini-laparotomy, your surgeon will make the incision just below your belly button. Through this incision, your doctor will tie and cut, burn, or clip your fallopian tubes before closing the initial incision with stitches or staples.
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