Tubal litigation (ligation) and pregnancy

Tubal litigation (ligation) is the sterilization of a female, a small and safe operation. The tuba ligation (occlusion) will however not be a guarantee against becoming pregnant.

Following a tubal litigation, there are still some circumstances that could lead to a pregnancy, such as an ectopic pregnancy. There are also other risks in combination with complications regarding pregnancies following tubal ligations.

Tuba litigation complication – risk of pregnancy

Following a tubal ligation, you can still be at risk for getting an ectopic pregnancy (the fertilized egg will be growing outside of the uterus). This is a dangerous complication that will require immediate treatment and medical care. Ectopic pregnancies are very unusual in non-sterilized women but after tuba litigation, the risk is slightly higher and it increases even further if you have gone through a tubal ligation reversal. There is also a risk of the occlusion failing, where reported cases have shown a small pregnancy rate of just under 2% over the ten years following the occlusion operation.

Other complications of tubal ligation

There is also a risk of abnormal bleedings after this surgery procedure, as well as a possible bladder infection. This is similar to the risk of any surgery and the sterilization is no exception to these infection and bleeding risks. There are some cases reported of what is usually called a post tuba sterilization syndrome. Symptoms of this include:

  • No periods anymore
  • Bleeding between cycles after a tubal litigation
  • Irregular menstruation pattern, sometimes painful

Scientifically, there has been a debate on whether there is such a thing as this syndrome, or if these symptoms are just normal and not connected to the sterilization.

How does a tubal litigation work?

The operational procedure of the occlusion is performed as a day operation. It is also called Band Aid surgery in some circumstances. A tubal ligation will take approximately one half hour all in all and there are two parts of the operation, the inciscions and the blocking of the tubes. Blocking is usually performed by cauterizing (a heat sealing procedure). The cauterizing will block the tube entirely so there is no longer any way the egg can meet with sperms and the egg will instead once the cells has died, be absorbed back into the body. The pattern of menstruational periods will not change due to this operation, nor will there be any changes to the hormones or any major side effects at all under normal circumstances.

What about sexuality – any changes there?

Sexual drive will not change, you will keep the same libido as you had before the operation and some reports even hint at an increased libido due to the relief factor as the risk of pregnancy has now been removed. The hassle of birth control is also gone which may improve on spontaneous sex.

How long does it take to recover from a tubal ligation?

You will need to rest first for a few hours for the anesthesia to disappear fully from your body. If there has been a spinal or general anesthesia, sometimes the patient will be required to stay in the hospital for one night under observation. In other cases you may be allowed to go home, but not alone and you need to be under supervision of someone for the first day.

Some general soreness at the incision site for a few days is normal, and so is some body ache as well. Following the use of general anaesthesia, there may be throat soreness from where the tube was put in. This tube is needed during general anesthesia for breathing assistance). Following laparoscopical surgery, you may have some little discomfort that comes from the use of gas. In most cases, the only thing you need is a few days rest and a few pain killers and then you are back again from your tubal litigation.