Tubal Ligation Overview
A tubal ligation, or tubectomy, is commonly referred to as having the tubes tied. This female sterilization method is a surgical procedure where the fallopian tubes are tied, blocked, or severed to prevent the eggs from traveling to the uterus to implant, thus preventing pregnancy. Board-certified gynecologists, Dr. Basinski and Dr. Juran, perform the surgery regularly with great results as part of their family planning services. There are several methods that the Newburgh doctors can perform to provide the safest and best-possible results. The surgery is generally considered safe with few minor complications possible.
The most common forms of tubal ligation are:
- Postpartum tubal ligation where the operation is performed after giving birth, usually 24-36 hours afterwards. Since the fallopian tubes are positioned higher in the abdomen following delivery, the doctor will make the incision beneath the belly button. This method is usually performed laparoscopically where surgical tools are inserted into one small incision.
- With a laparoscopy procedure, the surgical tools are inserted into two small incisions made in the abdomen. With a mini-lap, one incision is made in the abdomen in order to reach the fallopian tubes.
- With a laparotomy (open tubal ligation), a larger incision is made into the abdomen. This method is usually reserved for women who have had previous stomach or pelvic surgeries, pelvic inflammatory disease, or endometriosis.
General anesthetic is administered with the laparoscopy procedure, whereas the laparotomy or mini-laparotomy can be performed under general anesthesia or with the use of an epidural.
The majority of women can expect to go home the same day following a tubal. It is common to experience slight vaginal bleeding since the uterus shifted during surgery. After a laparoscopy, a patient should expect abdominal swelling that typically lasts a day. Some patients may also experience shoulder pain caused by gas in the abdomen, but it should subside fairly quickly. A patient can engage in sexual intercourse about a week after surgery or whenever she feels ready and there’s no pain associated with it. Normal activities can be resumed 24 hours to a few days after the patient has rested sufficiently. A follow-up exam is usually scheduled 2 weeks after the surgery.
After a tubal ligation, no back-up birth control is needed. Since no form of birth control is 100% effective, there is a slight chance of getting pregnant in the future, where the chances can increase after a number of years. This can be caused by the tubes growing back together, which allows the sperm to fertilize the egg. Pregnancy can also occur if the surgery wasn’t performed correctly the first time. If pregnancy occurs, it could be a life-threatening pregnancy called an ectopic pregnancy where the fertilized egg can grow in the fallopian tube. Your doctor must be contacted right away.
While it’s possible to reverse a tubal ligation, it’s not always successful since it involves reconnecting the fallopian tubes. It is important that when you decide on a tubal ligation, you are sure that you don’t want to get pregnant in the future.
Future pregnancies can effectively be prevented with a tubal ligation. If there are no more babies in your future, talk to Dr. Basinski and Dr. Juran about the possibility of having your tubes tied. The experienced doctors can give you all the facts, determine if this is the right procedure for you, and if so, they can decide which method would be most beneficial. To schedule your consultation, give our office a call so we can make an appointment as soon as possible.