Topic Overview

A tubal ligation is considered a permanent method of
birth control. The fallopian tubes are cut or blocked,
which prevents pregnancy by blocking the egg’s path to the sperm and uterus.
Laparoscopy makes it possible to see and do the
surgery through small incisions in the abdomen.

For a
laparoscopic tubal ligation, the surgeon makes two
small cuts (incisions)-one in or just below the belly button (navel) and one lower on your abdomen. The abdominal cavity, where the reproductive
organs are, is inflated with air or a harmless gas so that the surgeon can see
and avoid injuring abdominal organs or the inside of the abdomen.

The surgeon inserts a thin, lighted viewing tube (laparoscope) through
the incision. The laparoscope has a lens that magnifies what the surgeon is
viewing. The instrument that the surgeon uses to cut (ligate) the tubes may be
inserted alongside the laparoscope or through the incision just above the pubic
hair. The surgeon looks through the laparoscope while moving this instrument to
get the tubes cut in the correct location.

Laparoscopic tubal
ligation leaves small scars. Laparoscopy is the preferred method of surgery for
women who:

  • Are in good health.
  • Are not greatly
  • Do not have abnormalities of the pelvic organs, have
    never had abdominal or pelvic surgery, and have never had an infection of the
    pelvic organs such as
    pelvic inflammatory disease.
  • Do not have
  • Have not just had a baby
    (one incision at the navel is possible after childbirth).

The hospital or surgery center may send you instructions on
how to get ready for your surgery, or a nurse may call you with instructions
before your surgery.

Right after surgery, you will be taken to a
recovery area where nurses will care for and observe you. In most cases you will stay
in the recovery area for 1 to 4 hours, and then you will go home. In addition
to any special instructions from your doctor, your nurse will explain
information to help you in your recovery. You will likely go home with a sheet
of care instructions and who to contact if a problem arises.


A mini-laparotomy procedure (“mini-lap”) involves
a smaller incision [usually less than
2 in. (5 cm) long] than a
regular laparotomy. The incision may be made just at or above the pubic
hairline. The
fallopian tubes are pulled up into or out of the
incision, tied off, and then put back into place.

This procedure
is favored for women who have had prior abdominal or pelvic surgery or who have
heart or respiratory diseases.

A mini-lap may not be appropriate
for women who are very overweight or who have a history of disease affecting
the fallopian tubes, such as
endometriosis or
pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).


ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Sarah Marshall, MD – Family Medicine
Adam Husney, MD – Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito, MD – Family Medicine
Elizabeth T. Russo, MD – Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Rebecca Sue Uranga, MD – Obstetrics and Gynecology

Current as ofApril 20, 2017