The ovaries are connected to the uterus by the uterine tubes (fallopian tubes). The egg travels from the ovary through the tube to the uterus.
Tubal ligation is surgery to tie the tubes (fallopian tubes) of a woman. This prevents transport of the egg (ovum) to the uterus, causing permanent infertility (sterility). Tubal ligation may be recommended for adult women who wish to prevent future pregnancies (permanent sterilization). Tubal ligation is not recommended as a temporary or reversible procedure.
Tubal ligation occurs in the hospital while the patient is deeply asleep and free of pain (using general anesthesia). A small incision is made in the abdomen, through which a small telescope (laparoscope) is inserted. The tubes (fallopian tubes) are tied off and cut apart. The skin incision is stitched closed. The patient is able to return home within a few hours after the procedure.
Tubal ligation can be performed immediately after childbirth.
Most women recover with no problems. No tests are required to verify sterility.
Most women are advised to avoid strenuous exercise for several days. Oral pain medications can usually manage the pain. Most women are able to return to work within a few days. Women who have this procedure can resume sexual intercourse as soon they feel ready (usually within a week).
Harvey Simon, MD, Editor-in-Chief, Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Physician, Massachusetts General Hospital.
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