Skip to main content

Laparoscopic Sterilisation

Surgery to permanently stop you being able to get pregnant

Surgeons performing a laparoscopic sterilisation procedure to block the fallopian tubes
Laparoscopic sterilisation is a type of keyhole surgery to cut or block the fallopian tubes (the tubes that carry an egg to the womb). It is carried out as a permanent method of contraception (to prevent pregnancy).

This page explains what laparoscopic sterilisation is, what happens during the procedure and what to expect during your recovery. Call or book online today to arrange a consultation to discuss private laparoscopic sterilisation with a consultant of your choice at Circle Health Group.

If you are certain you don’t want any more children, laparoscopic sterilisation offers many benefits including:

  • It is over 99% effective in preventing pregnancy
  • The procedure is a type of non-invasive surgery and has a faster recovery time and lower risk of complications when compared to open surgery
  • It eliminates the need to use hormonal contraception such as the contraceptive pill, injections or the Mirena coil
  • It doesn’t interfere with sex or affect your libido (sex drive)

Laparoscopic sterilisation may not be right for everyone. Some disadvantages of the procedure include:

  • The operation is difficult to reverse and in some cases cannot be reversed. You need to be certain you do not want any future pregnancies before deciding on sterilisation
  • It does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
  • Rarely, laparoscopic sterilisation does not work, and the fallopian tubes can join back together. If you do get pregnant after the procedure there is an increased risk of ectopic pregnancy (where the baby grows outside the womb)
  • There is a small risk of surgical complications such as bleeding, infection, and damage to the surrounding organs

Some alternatives to laparoscopic sterilisation that offer long-term protection against pregnancy include:

  • Vasectomy - is a surgical procedure performed on men to cause permanent sterility
  • Intrauterine device (IUD) - also known as the coil, an IUD is a T-shaped device that is inserted into the womb and can remain in place for five to ten years
  • Contraceptive implants - are rods that are implanted under the skin and provide contraception for three years

At your first appointment, you will be seen by a consultant gynaecologist, a doctor specialising in conditions affecting the female reproductive system. They will ask you some questions about your age, general health, and your reasons for considering laparoscopic sterilisation.

Deciding to get sterilised is a big step and it's important that you are sure about having the surgery and fully informed about what it means to have the procedure. If you have any questions or concerns about laparoscopic sterilisation, please feel free to discuss them with your consultant during your consultation.

At the end of your appointment, your consultant will decide if laparoscopic sterilisation is right for you based on your age, general health, and the reasons you want to have the procedure. If surgery is not the right option for you, your consultant will discuss some alternative methods of long-term contraception that may be more suitable.

Your consultant will tell you everything you need to do to prepare for your surgery. If there's anything you're not sure about, or if you have any questions about how to prepare for your surgery, speak to your consultant or call the hospital for advice. Being well-prepared for your surgery will ease any anxiety you may have as well as helping your surgery and recovery to go more smoothly.

Before your surgery, tell your consultant about any medical conditions or allergies you have and any medication, including over-the-counter medicines you are taking.

Your consultant may tell you to stop taking some medications like blood thinners before your operation. This is to reduce the risk of bleeding during and after your surgery.

You need to use a reliable method of contraception from the day of your surgery until your next period following your laparoscopic sterilisation.

You will not be able to eat or drink anything from midnight on the day of your operation.

On the day of your surgery:

  • Bring an overnight bag with toiletries and sanitary towels in case you need to stay in hospital
  • Remove any jewellery, piercings, or nail varnish
  • Leave all your valuables at home
  • Take a bath or shower on the morning of your surgery

What lifestyle changes can I make before my surgery?

Being in the best possible health before your surgery can reduce the risk of complications and speed up your recovery.

To make sure you are as healthy as possible before your surgery:

  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of fruit, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains
  • If you smoke, try to stop at least eight weeks before your surgery
  • Avoid alcohol for a few days before and after your surgery. Alcohol thins the blood and can increase the risk of bleeding
  • Take regular exercise

Laparoscopic sterilisation is performed under general anaesthetic. The procedure normally takes around twenty minutes.

When the anaesthetic has taken effect, your consultant will make several small incisions (cuts) in your abdomen. Your abdominal cavity will be pumped full of carbon dioxide gas. This makes it easier for your consultant to see your organs.

A speculum will be inserted into your vagina and a device passed through your cervix into your womb. This allows your consultant to move your womb around to get the best possible images.

Your consultant will insert a laparoscope (a small, flexible camera and light) and surgical instruments through the incisions in your abdomen.

Using the images from the laparoscope as a guide, your surgeon will perform the sterilisation. This can be done in several ways:

  • Plastic or titanium clips are applied to the fallopian tubes (this is the most common method)
  • A small section of the fallopian tube is pulled through a ring and clamped off
  • The fallopian tubes are cut and tied

When the surgery is finished, your surgeon will close the incisions using dissolvable stitches and apply sterile dressings.

After your surgery, you will be taken to the recovery room where your blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing will be monitored closely until the effects of the anaesthetic have worn off. You will then be taken to your room.

Recovery from any type of surgery is different for everyone and depends on factors such as your age, general health and whether or not there were any complications during your surgery. Your consultant will be able to give you an estimated recovery timeline based on your individual circumstances.

Pain after surgery

You may experience cramping similar to period pain for the first few days after your surgery. Your abdomen may be swollen, and you may also have some discomfort in your shoulders, upper chest, and neck. This is due to the gas that was pumped into your abdomen during the procedure, and will subside in a few days. Take over-the-counter painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen if you need to.

Bleeding after surgery

It's normal to have some slight vaginal bleeding for up to a month after your surgery. Only use sanitary towels during this time, because tampons can increase the risk of infection. Contact your healthcare provider if your bleeding is heavy, lasts longer than a week or has an unpleasant smell.

Wound care

Your incision wounds will be closed with either dissolvable stitches or surgical glue. Neither of these needs to be removed, but your consultant may arrange a follow-up appointment after around five days to check they are healing properly.

Your incision sites may ooze for the first day or two. You will normally have a sterile dressing in place for the first twenty-four hours after which it can be removed. Your surgical wounds should be kept clean and dry. Always wash your hands before and after any contact with your wounds.

You can take a shower the morning after your surgery. Dry your incision sites carefully afterwards by patting them dry with a clean towel. Contact your healthcare provider if your wounds become red, sore, swollen or have an unpleasant smell.

How many nights will I need to stay in hospital?

Laparoscopic sterilisation can usually be done as a day case, meaning you'll be able to go home later the same day. In some cases, you may need to spend one night in hospital.

Will I be able to drive home?

Due to the general anaesthetic, it is not safe for you to drive yourself home from hospital after your surgery. Please make arrangements for someone to come and collect you. We can arrange for a taxi to collect you, but it's always best to have a loved one with you when you get home.

How soon can I go back to work?

We recommend that you rest at home for at least the first two days after your procedure. If you have a sedentary job like office work, you may be able to return to work after a few days. Avoid heavy lifting or strenuous activity for at least a week after your surgery.

How soon can I drive?

Do not drive for at least 48 hours after having a general anaesthetic as your reaction times may still be impaired. After this, you can drive when you feel safe to do so and can wear a seatbelt and perform an emergency stop comfortably. You should check with your insurance company, as they may have specific rules about when you're safe to drive.

When will I be back to normal?

Recovery from laparoscopic sterilisation is different for everyone. You can help your recovery by following your consultant's post-operative instructions carefully. Contact your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns during your recovery.

After your surgery, increase your activity level gradually and stop if you experience pain or feel particularly tired. Most women are able to resume normal activities about a week after surgery.

As with all types of surgery, laparoscopic sterilisation carries a small risk of complications. Your consultant will explain all the possible risks and complications before your surgery and answer any questions you may have. Being as well-informed as possible about the possible risks and complications of your procedure will allow you to make an informed decision.

Possible complications of any surgery include:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Blood clots
  • Adverse reactions to the anaesthetic

Possible complications specific to laparoscopic sterilisation include:

  • Damage to the nearby organs such as the bowel or bladder
  • Damage to the blood vessels
  • Incisional hernia —where abdominal tissue pushes through the incision site
  • Surgical (subcutaneous) emphysema —where gas gets trapped in the subcutaneous tissue
  • Damage to your womb or cervix
  • The procedure may be unsuccessful
  • Increased risk of ectopic pregnancy if the sterilisation does not work

We answer some of your most commonly asked questions about laparoscopic sterilisation.

How effective is laparoscopic sterilisation?

Laparoscopic sterilisation is over 99% effective at preventing pregnancy.

When can I have sex after laparoscopic sterilisation?

You can have sex as soon as you feel comfortable after your surgery. Your sex life and libido (sex drive) should not be affected by your sterilisation.

When will I have a period after laparoscopic sterilisation?

You may not have a period for around four to six weeks after your surgery. Your period may be heavier than normal, and you may experience some discomfort for the first two to three menstrual cycles after your sterilisation.

When can I swim after laparoscopic sterilisation?

You can swim or take a bath two weeks after your surgery.

How long does laparoscopic sterilisation surgery take?

Laparoscopic sterilisation normally takes around twenty minutes.

Will I go into menopause after laparoscopic sterilisation?

No. Sterilisation does not affect your hormone levels or menstrual cycle, and does not cause early menopause.

At Circle Health Group we have the experience and expertise to ensure the best possible care and outcome for our patients. As a patient with Circle Health Group, you can expect the highest standards of care including:

  • Flexible appointment times and locations that are convenient for you
  • The freedom to choose which hospital and consultant suit your needs
  • Personalised, consultant-led treatment plans tailored to your individual needs
  • Comfortable and safe private facilities maintained by expert multidisciplinary teams
  • Private ensuite rooms as standard
  • A range of delicious healthy meals
  • Affordable, fixed-price packages with aftercare included
  • Flexible payment options to help you spread the cost of your care

If you would like to see a consultant or learn more about laparoscopic sterilisation, book your appointment online today or call a member of our team directly.

Content reviewed by Circle in-house team in March 2023. Next review due March 2026.

  1. Female sterilisation, NHS
  2. Sterilization by laparoscopy, Cleveland Clinic
  3. Laparoscopic Sterilisation, Health Direct
  4. Sterilization by laparoscopy FAQs, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists

Specialists offering Laparoscopic sterilisation (female contraception)

View all specialists

{{ error }}

Find a specialist