Our Preparing for series allows a patient to prepare themselves for a procedure properly. We answer questions about how long the procedure will last, what’s involved, what to expect, and even advice on packing your bag. While your surgeon preps, we’ll make sure you’re ready.

Preparing for: Permanent Birth Control or Bilateral Salpingectomy

Medika's Patient Information Series for preparing for Procedures

What is a Bilateral Salpingectomy?

When your family is complete, many couples look for permanent options so they never have to worry about a “surprise” pregnancy again. Permanent birth control allows couples to take control of family planning.

For men, vasectomy is a simple and quick office procedure to prevent sperm from mixing with semen. The procedure is typically done in an office setting or ambulatory surgical center.

Women may choose the option of laparoscopic tubal surgery. During this out-patient procedure, the fallopian tubes are tied, cut, or removed to prevent pregnancy. Tubal surgery blocks the pathway between the uterus and ovaries preventing sperm from reaching the egg.

Having your tubes tied does not affect your hormones or periods. Hormones come from the ovaries which are not affected by tubal surgeries. The fallopian tubes are located outside of the uterus so removing them does not change the timing, length, or heaviness of the menstrual cycle.

Many surgeons recommend complete removal of the fallopian tubes as this technique reduces the risk of ovarian cancer. Removal of the fallopian tubes is called a bilateral salpingectomy.

Removing the fallopian tubes for sterilization provides the secondary benefit of reducing the lifetime risk of ovarian cancer.

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How long will I be in hospital?

Patients are asked to arrive 1-2 hours prior to surgery to allow the surgical team to prepare for a safe experience. Once the patient enters the operating room, a series of safety steps must occur.

The operative time for laparoscopic bilateral salpingectomy varies. The surgeon’s experience, surgical technique, patient body type, and patient previous surgeries are all factors. In general, 15–30 minutes of total operative time should be expected.

Patients are discharge home 1-2 hours after the surgical recovery.

Can my family visit me?

Laparoscopic bilateral salpingectomies are performed in a hospital or ambulatory surgery center. A trusted family member should drive you to and from the appointment. Your family is welcome to stay with you before and after this outpatient procedure.

Does my procedure require an anesthetic?

General anesthesia is required for any laparoscopic surgery. The surgeon may also inject an anesthetic into the incisions to decrease post-operative pain.

What’s the procedure when I check in?

Most surgeries will involve a preoperative visit with your surgeon to go over the procedure’s risks and benefits in detail. Your surgeon answers questions regarding your upcoming surgery. The surgical consent form is reviewed, signed, or updated with any changes.

Because laparoscopic bilateral salpingectomy is considered a permanent form of birth control, your doctor will ask questions to make sure you are certain you will not want children in the future.

In most settings, patients will receive a preoperative phone call by a nurse or medical assistant one to two days before surgery. If any blood work or preoperative testing is required, it will be scheduled and confirmed.

After arrival at the hospital or Ambulatory Surgery Center. The staff will guide you to the preoperative holding area to change into a surgical gown and store your valuables. You will meet the nursing team who will provide care during your stay. An IV will be placed at this time.

The anesthesia team will come to interview you and answer questions. Typically your surgeon will also come and review any last-minute questions.

What happens in theater?

After the preoperative evaluation, the team will guide you to the operating or procedure room. You will move from the mobile bed to the operating table. Once you are positioned comfortably and safely, the anesthesiologist will give you medication through your IV to help you go to sleep.

The OR nursing team will cover your body with sterile drapes and prep the abdomen for surgical sterility. The team then performs a “surgical time-out.” A surgical safety checklist is read out loud requiring all surgical team members to be present and attentive.

The laparoscopic camera is positioned to show the pelvic anatomy. Small instruments are passed through one or two additional ports. This allows the surgeon to operate with both hands. The fallopian tubes are located and grasped with one instrument. Then, with the other hand, the surgeon cuts the fallopian tubes away from the adjacent anatomy. Many surgeons use an electrosurgical device such as Ligasure to control bleeding and cut away the tissue. Once the fallopian tubes are free, the surgeon removes them through the laparoscopic ports.

After releasing the air from the abdominal cavity, the ports are removed. The surgeon the sews the skin closed to complete the procedure.

How long will I be in the operating theater?

Once the patient enters the operating room, a series of safety steps must occur. This process takes about 20 minutes.

The operative time for laparoscopic bilateral salpingectomy varies. The surgeon’s experience, surgical technique, patient body type, and patient previous surgeries are all factors.

In general, 15–30 minutes of total operative time should be expected.

When can I go home?

Postoperative recovery time will vary from person to person. Each patient must meet certain discharge criteria. The patient’s vital signs must be stable. The patient must be alert, oriented, and able to walk with assistance. Postoperative nausea, vomiting, and pain must be controlled as well as confirmation of no postoperative bleeding.

The nursing team will go over discharge instructions, and the plan for postoperative pain management options will be confirmed.

Laparoscopic tubal procedures require a minimal amount of postoperative recovery. Patients are often discharged as early as 30–60 minutes after the procedure.

What is the usual recovery time

Most women should be able to return to normal daily activities within a few days. Most patients will require mild pain medication like NSAIDs or even low dose narcotics for a brief period of time. Many experience discomfort in the right shoulder due to air irritating the nerves of the diaphragm.

Mild uterine cramping is also common. Light bleeding, spotting, and brown or black discharge is common and expected. Sanitary napkins and tampons are safe to use.

What aftercare is required?

You should speak with your physician regarding the resumption of exercise and sexual activity. Most can return to normal activities in less than one week. Typically, the recommendation is no intercourse for 1–2 weeks.

Your doctor will schedule a postoperative examination 1–2 weeks after the procedure to evaluate the incision.

Danger Signals to look out for after the procedure

You should call your doctor if you experience heavy vaginal bleeding, fevers, severe nausea or vomiting, worsening abdominal pain, or the inability to pass gas.

If you experience heavy bleeding, abdominal or pelvic pain, a fever, or pain that increases over time beyond 24 hours, call your physician. After any surgery, contact your physician if you meet any of the following criteria:

  • Pain not controlled with prescribed medication
  • Fever > 101
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Calf or leg pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Heavy vaginal bleeding
  • Foul-smelling vaginal discharge
  • Abdominal pain not controlled by pain medication
  • Inability to pass gas

What should I pack at home to take with?

Laparoscopic procedures require very little postoperative care. Keep the incisions clean and dry. Sexual activity should be avoided until cleared by your doctor. One may resume a normal diet the day of surgery and begin light exercise the day after the procedure or when you feel ready.

What information should I provide to my doctors and nurses?

It is very important to provide your doctor with an updated list of all medications, vitamins, and dietary supplements prior to surgery. All medication and food allergies should be reviewed. Share any lab work, radiologic procedures, or other medical tests done by other healthcare providers with your surgeon prior to your procedure.

Still have questions?

Read through any existing comments in the section below and if you still need information on this procedure please do leave your questions in the comments section.

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