Laparoscopic Tubal Ligation

Laparoscopic tubal ligation is successful in preventing pregnancy in more than 99 out of 100 women. Through the use of a specialized tool called a laparoscope, the doctor is able to view the inside of a woman's abdomen and block the fallopian tubes, thus preventing pregnancy. While no surgery is completely free of risks, major complications occur in less than 1 out of 100 procedures.

What Is Laparoscopic Tubal Ligation?

Laparoscopy is a tool used for diagnosing and treating several different conditions by actually looking inside the body with a specialized camera. There are a number of different types of laparoscopic procedures, such as:
  • Laparoscopic appendectomy (removal of the appendix)
  • Laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery
  • Laparoscopic cholecystectomy (removal of the gallbladder).
This article will discuss laparoscopic tubal ligation, which is a sterilization operation sometimes called "having your tubes tied." The formal name is laparoscopic bilateral tubal ligation, or BTL. Laparoscopic means to look into the abdomen (stomach), bilateral is both sides, and tubal ligation means "blocking" the fallopian tubes so your eggs cannot be fertilized or reach the uterus. This is how BTL prevents pregnancy.
Another way that a woman can have her tubes tied is right after birth. This is known as postpartum tubal ligation and is discussed in a separate eMedTV article (see Postpartum Tubal Ligation).
You may have used many forms of birth control in the past. However, since you may desire a more permanent method of birth control, your doctor might have recommended a laparoscopic tubal ligation. This procedure should be thought of as a permanent method of birth control.
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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