Tubal Ligation

Tubal Ligation

Alternate Names

  • tubal sterilization
  • sterilization, female

Definition

Tubal ligation is surgery performed to close the Fallopian tubes that lead from the ovaries to the uterus, in order to permanently prevent a woman from having children.

Who is a candidate for the procedure?

Women who no longer want to be able to have children, or who cannot use reversible methods of contraception (birth control) because of side effects, may decide to undergo tubal ligation Usually these women have already had one or more children.
If a woman has never had children or is less than 30 years old, a reversible method is usually a better choice. Tubal ligation is also useful for women whose medical problems make pregnancy very risky..Tubal ligation may remove the fear and anxiety of pregnancy for a woman, which can enhance intimacy and improve her sexual life. Other contraceptive methods can be stopped, thus saving costs and eliminating side effects.

How is the procedure performed?

Tubal ligation may be done in several ways. It can be done at the same time as a cesarean section, after the baby is born and the uterus is repaired. It can also be done within 24 hours after a vaginal delivery through a small incision below the navel. The surgery is technically easiest at this time, because the uterus and tubes are enlarged due to the recent childbirth and lie in the mid-abdomen rather than down in the pelvis.
For a woman not recently pregnant, tubal ligation can be done by placing a telescope in the uterus and watching as the openings to the tubes are blocked with small coils. This is known as an "Essure" tubal ligation. Alternatively, a laparoscopy may be done, in which a telescope is placed through the navel and the tubes are not tied, but burned or closed off with plastic clips, loops, or rings.

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