Understanding Laparoscopic Tubal Ligation

A laparoscopic tubal ligation, also known as laparoscopic sterilization, is one of the two most common methods of tubal ligation (the other common permanent birth control procedure is a mini-laparotomy).

Smiling female doctor talking to woman at hospital
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During the Procedure

Typically, you will be given general anesthesia. Your surgeon will make a small incision, about half an inch long, in or below the belly button. A harmless carbon dioxide gas is injected into your abdomen. This raises the abdominal wall off of your pelvic organs, so your surgeon can get an unobstructed view—as well as room to operate. Next, a laparoscope (a small, thin, telescope-like instrument with a light) is inserted through the incision to view the tubes.

Your surgeon will then insert a smaller device used to move, hold, and close off the fallopian tubes. This device could be inserted either through the laparoscope or through a second, tiny cut made just above the pubic hairline.

The entire fallopian tube is commonly removed, though the surgeon may choose to close the fallopian tubes by using rings, clamps, clips, or by sealing them shut with an electric current (electrocautery).

The laparoscope is taken out, and your surgeon will then stitch the incision(s) closed.

The procedure takes about 30 minutes. There is very minimal scarring because the incision(s) are small. The smaller incisions also help to reduce recovery time after surgery and lower the risk of complications. In most cases, you will be able to leave the surgery facility within four hours after having a laparoscopic tubal ligation.


After your procedure, you will most likely be placed in a recovery room so the surgeon can observe you for any possible complications. You will receive recovery instructions when you are released. Most women can go back to work or resume their normal activities about three days after the laparoscopic tubal ligation. You may also be told:

  • You can shower/bathe anytime after the procedure.
  • You may remove any bandages the day after your laparoscopic tubal ligation.
  • If you have steri-strips (bandages that look like tape), you can remove these two to three days after the procedure.
  • You shouldn't drink alcohol or drive for at least 24 hours afterward.
  • You can start to have sex again one week after the procedure.
  • You may have vaginal bleeding for a few days after the procedure.
  • It may take four to six weeks after your procedure for your period to return. When it does, you may have heavier bleeding and more discomfort than usual for your first two to three menstrual cycles.

Associated Discomforts

After having this procedure, you may be in some pain. Your healthcare provider should tell you what medications you can take if you are feeling pain. In addition:

  • The gas that was injected into your abdomen may cause discomfort in your neck, shoulders, and chest. This can last for 24 to 72 hours after the procedure. A warm shower, a heating pad, or walking may help to relieve some of this discomfort. In addition, laying down flat can help relieve the chest and neck pressure as the intraabdominal gas will no longer irritate the diaghragm under the lungs.
  • Your abdomen may be swollen for several days after your procedure.
  • You may have some mild nausea. If this happens, some toast, crackers, soup or tea may give you some relief.
  • You may also have a sore throat for a few days.
5 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Patil E, Jensen JT. Update on permanent contraception options for women. Current Opinion in Obstetrics & Gynecology. 2015;27(6):465-470. doi: 10.1097/GCO.0000000000000213

  2. Kumar A, Pearl M. Mini-laparotomy versus laparoscopy for gynecologic conditions. Journal of Minimally Invasive Gynecology. 2014;21(1):109-114. doi: 10.1016/j.jmig.2013.06.008

  3. Brown EN, Pavone KJ, Naranjo M. Multimodal general anesthesia: theory and practice. Anesthesia & Analgesia. 2018;127(5):1246-1258. doi: 10.1213/ane.0000000000003668

  4. Cleveland Clinic. Sterilization by laparoscopy: procedure details.

  5. Tasdemir N, Abali R, Celik C, Aksu E, Akkus D. Single-incision-two port laparoscopic tubal ligation: A cost comparison and technique description. J Turkish German Gynecol Assoc. doi: 10.5152%2Fjtgga.2015.15132

By Dawn Stacey, PhD, LMHC
Dawn Stacey, PhD, LMHC, is a published author, college professor, and mental health consultant with over 15 years of counseling experience.