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Sometimes referred to as "having your tubes tied," a tubal ligation procedure is used to block the fallopian tubes and thus prevent pregnancy. One method of blocking the fallopian tubes involves using an electric current to burn the tubes and create a scar. Another method of performing a tubal ligation involves using a clip or rubber band-type device to close each tube.

What Is a Laparoscopic Tubal Ligation?

Laparoscopic tubal ligation is a procedure that is sometimes called "having your tubes tied." The formal name is laparoscopic bilateral tubal ligation, or BTL. Laparoscopic means to look into the abdomen, 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. To get more information on the postpartum tubal ligation procedure, click Postpartum Tubal Ligation or Postpartum Tubal Ligation Surgery.

Beginning the Tubal Ligation Surgical Procedure

After the anesthesia has taken effect, your doctor will begin the tubal ligation procedure by placing a speculum into your vagina. A small instrument will then be carefully placed into the end of your cervix. This makes it possible for your doctor to gently move the uterus into different positions, so that your pelvic structures can be seen more clearly through the laparoscope.
Then a small incision, or cut, will be made in or just below your navel. A tube, called a trocar, will then be inserted into your abdomen. Through this, your doctor will fill your abdomen with carbon dioxide gas, which is like the air you breathe out. This gas helps your doctor see your pelvic structures more clearly. The laparoscope will then be inserted. Through this, your doctor will view the inside of your abdomen on a video screen. The laparoscope can also take pictures and videotape the procedure.
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Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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