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Tubal Sterilization

Indications:  Tubal sterilization is reserved for women who are certain they no longer want children.  It is a permanent procedure and should not be entered into lightly without careful consideration.  Alternative options for permanent sterilization include birth control pills, patches, vaginal rings, injections, implants, and intrauterine devices.  Vasectomy is permanent sterilization in men, and, offers patients another option as well for permanent sterilization. 

Risks:  All surgeries have some degree of risk, but serious complications are rare.  The main risk of tubal sterilization is regret.  This is a permanent procedure and is not easily reversed once performed.  Other risks including bleeding, infection, or damage to other organs when performed through laparoscopy.  Major side effects from the anesthesia and allergic reaction can occur.  No method of birth control is 100% effective, including sterilization.  Risk of pregnancy is < 1% after tubal sterilization but should it occur, it is more likely to be in the tubes, and should be evaluated promptly.      

Procedure:  Tubal sterilization can be done at the time of a c-section or outside of pregnancy through the vagina or laparoscopy.  Both are outpatient procedures which means you can go home the same day.  On the day of surgery, an IV in placed for fluids and anesthesia.  Once you are sleep, an incision is made in the belly button area and gas is used to inflate the abdomen.  A laparoscope is inserted into the abdomen and attached to a light source and camera to better visualize the uterus, ovaries, and tubes.  The fallopian tubes are identified and destroyed with heat or by tying, banding, or clipping them.  The laparoscope is then removed and the incision is closed with suture.  Sutures typically dissolve on their own in 4-6wks. 

Recovery:  After surgery, you will be observed for a short while to make sure your pain is controlled and you can tolerate something to drink and/or eat.  Most women are ready to go home in less than 1 hour.  It is normal to have some pain near the incision, mild nausea, gas pain, and shoulder pain after laparoscopy.  Some women will also have some vaginal bleeding or discharge and feel slightly tired or achy.  All symptoms typically resolve in 1 -2 days. 

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