During tubal ligation, the fallopian tubes are closed either by:
- cutting and tying the tubes, or
- placing a clip, ring or band around the tubes.
There are 2 types of tubal ligation surgery – laparoscopic tubal ligation and mini-laparotomy. Your doctor will discuss the options with you.
Laparoscopic tubal ligation
This is the most common procedure by which tubal ligation is performed. The following steps are taken with this approach:
- Two small incisions (cuts) are made in your abdomen (tummy). A laparoscope (a long thin tube with a camera and light source at its tip) is inserted through one incision and surgical instruments are inserted through the other incision.
- The fallopian tubes are then able to be located and the tubal ligation performed.
- The incisions in the abdomen are closed with steristrips (small paper tapes) or small stitches.
Laparoscopic tubal ligation is usually performed under a general anaesthetic. The procedure takes about 30 minutes and you don't usually need to stay overnight in hospital.
Sometimes an ‘open’ surgical approach known as mini-laparotomy may be needed if the laparoscopic approach is unsuitable such as if you have:
- scarring in your pelvis from previous surgery
- health conditions such as endometriosis.
The following steps are taken with this approach:
- A single incision of about 4–5 cm long is made, just above your pubic hair line.
- Your fallopian tubes are located and the tubal ligation performed.
- The incision is closed with dissolvable stitches.
This type of tubal ligation usually requires you to stay in hospital for a day or two.