How is sterilization by laparoscopy performed?
An intravenous line (I.V.) will be inserted into a vein in your hand or arm. You will be given a general anesthetic in the I.V. to relax your muscles and prevent pain during surgery. After your anesthesia is started, you will be positioned for surgery and antiseptic will be applied to your skin to prevent infection. A speculum will be placed in the vagina. A device will be gently inserted into the uterus so that the uterus can be positioned as needed during the procedure.
A small incision is then made near the navel. A laparoscope, a thin viewing tube about the width of a pencil, is passed through this incision and the abdomen is inflated to make the organs easier to view.
A special device for grasping the fallopian tubes is inserted through a second, small incision made at the pubic hairline. The fallopian tubes are sealed in one of two ways:
- With an electric current that makes the tube clot (electrocoagulation)
- With a band or clip that is placed over the tubes. In some cases, a device will be used to separate the tubes from the uterus and the ovaries, and the tubes will be removed from the body.
After the fallopian tubes have been sealed or removed, the laparoscope and grasping device are removed and a small bandage is applied over the incisions.
How do I prepare for the procedure?
Before your laparoscopy:
- Do not eat, drink (including water) or smoke after midnight the evening before your surgery.
- Wear low-heeled shoes the day of surgery. You may be drowsy from the anesthesia and unsteady on your feet.
- Do not wear jewelry. (Wedding rings may be worn.)
- Wear loose-fitting clothing. You will have some abdominal tenderness and cramping after surgery.
- Bring a sanitary pad. You may have some vaginal bleeding after surgery.
- Remove nail polish from at least one finger prior to surgery.
What should I expect after the procedure?
Recovering at home:
- Don't drink alcohol or drive for at least 24 hours after surgery.
- You can shower any time after surgery. You can take a tub bath or swim beginning two weeks after surgery.
- You may remove the bandage the morning after the surgery. Steri-strips, which resemble tape, can be removed two to three days after surgery.
- Patients can return to work three days after surgery. (If you need a physician's letter excusing you from work, please request one before the day of surgery.)
- Your abdomen may be swollen for several days after the surgery. Tylenol® may be taken to relieve pain.
- You may have a sore throat for a few days. Try using a throat lozenge.
- You may have mild nausea. Try eating a light evening meal the day of surgery. Tea, soup, toast, gelatin or crackers may help relieve nausea.
- Gas in the abdomen may cause discomfort in the neck, shoulders, and chest for 24 to 72 hours after surgery. Try taking a warm shower, using a heating pad or walking.
Vaginal bleeding and menstruation
Vaginal bleeding up to one month after surgery is normal. Many women do not have their next normal menstrual cycle for four to six weeks after surgery. When your normal cycle returns, you may notice heavier bleeding and more discomfort than usual for the first two to three cycles.
You can resume sexual activity one week after surgery.