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Getting your tubes tied is a big decision. It is important to learn about the procedure and what it entails. Referred to as tubal ligation, this surgical procedure is done to close the fallopian tubes. Once complete, the woman is no longer able to become pregnant. Most women elect to have this procedure once they no longer wish to have children.
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Preparation will depend on when the procedure is being done. Some women have it done right after child birth and some have it done as a separate procedure. If done as a separate procedure, the patient will likely be given a sensitive pregnancy test right before the procedure to make sure she is not pregnant. Certain medications may have to be adjusted or stopped prior to this procedure. Eating and drinking usually cannot be done 12 hours prior to the procedure. Any special preparations will be discussed with the patient.
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This procedure is usually done in a hospital and will be done under general anesthesia, spinal anesthesia and local anesthesia. Two incisions are made around the belly button and gas will be pumped in to help the surgeon see the abdominal and pelvic cavity. The laparoscope is inserted and the fallopian tubes are then clamped off or cauterized. The incisions are then closed. This procedure can also be done right after a cesarean section.
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Most women will go home the same day. If this was done the same day as giving birth, the woman will stay as long as needed to recover from the birthing process. Most report some pain and tenderness. In most cases, women will be sent home with a prescription or a recommendation for pain medication. Shoulder pain is also possible due to the gas used during laparoscopy. Heavy lifting should not be done for three weeks, but normal activities can typically be resumed within a few days. Any special recovery instructions should also be followed exactly.
For most women, the procedure and recovery will go smoothly. If you had this procedure done through your uterus, you will need to have a hyterosalpingogram done three months after your surgery. This is done to ensure your fallopian tubes are blocked.
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Getting your tubes tied is a relatively safe procedure, but it is surgery so there are possible risks. General surgery risks include bleeding, infection and damage to other organs. Anesthesia risks include allergic reactions, heart problems and pneumonia or breathing problems. Tubal ligation risks include increased risk of ectopic pregnancy, incomplete closing of the tubes and nearby organ damage.
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MedlinePlus. (2010). Tubal Ligation. Retrieved on April 14, 2011 from MedlinePlus: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002913.htm
Mayo Clinic. (2009). Tubal Ligation. Retrieved on April 14, 2011 from the Mayo Clinic: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/tubal-ligation/MY01000
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Laparoscopic Surgery Robot: Wikimedia Commons – Antonu