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Laparoscopic sterilisation

4-minute read

What is a sterilisation?

A sterilisation is a permanent method of female contraception. It involves blocking or removing both fallopian tubes (tubes that carry the egg from your ovary to your womb and sperm to the egg). So this operation will prevent you from becoming pregnant.

What are the benefits of surgery?

Illustration showing the womb and surrounding structures.
The womb and surrounding structures.

You or your partner should not need to use another method of contraception.

Are there any alternatives to sterilisation?

There are non-permanent (reversible) methods of female contraception.

A vasectomy is a permanent method of male contraception.

The only safe, non-permanent method of male contraception is to use a condom, but the risk of failure is higher.

What does the operation involve?

The operation is performed under a general anaesthetic and usually takes about 20 minutes.

Your gynaecologist will make a small cut, usually on or near your belly button, so they can insert an instrument in your abdominal cavity to inflate it with gas (carbon dioxide). They will usually make a further cut on your ‘bikini’ line so they can insert tubes (ports) into your abdomen. Your gynaecologist will insert instruments through the ports along with a telescope so they can see inside your abdomen and perform the sterilisation.

The most common method of sterilisation is to block each fallopian tube by placing a clip on it.

How can I prepare myself for the operation?

If you smoke, stopping smoking now may reduce your risk of developing complications and will improve your long-term health.

Try to maintain a healthy weight. You have a higher risk of developing complications if you are overweight.

Regular exercise should help to prepare you for the operation, help you to recover and improve your long-term health. Before you start exercising, ask the healthcare team or your GP for advice.

Speak to the healthcare team about any vaccinations you might need to reduce your risk of serious illness while you recover. When you come into hospital, practise hand washing and wear a face covering when asked.

What complications can happen?

Some complications can be serious and can even cause death (risk: 1 in 12,000).

General complications of any operation

  • feeling or being sick
  • bleeding
  • infection of the surgical site (wound)
  • allergic reaction to the equipment, materials or medication
  • developing a hernia in the scar
  • venous thromboembolism
  • chest infection

Specific complications of this operation

Keyhole surgery complications

  • damage to structures such as your bowel, bladder or blood vessels
  • developing a hernia near one of the cuts used to insert the ports
  • surgical emphysema
  • making a hole in your womb or cervix
  • making a hole in your womb or cervix with possible damage to a nearby structure
  • failed procedure
  • gas embolism
  • conversion to open surgery

Sterilisation complications

  • failure of the sterilisation
  • infection of the gynaecological organs or bladder
  • ectopic pregnancy

Consequences of this procedure

  • pain
  • unsightly scarring of your skin

How soon will I recover?

You should be able to go home the same day.

Rest for 1 to 2 days and take painkillers if you need them.

Regular exercise should help you to return to normal activities as soon as possible. Before you start exercising, ask the healthcare team or your GP for advice.


A sterilisation is a method of female contraception which is permanent.


The operation and treatment information on this page is published under license by Healthdirect Australia from EIDO Healthcare Australia and is protected by copyright laws. Other than for your personal, non-commercial use, you may not copy, print out, download or otherwise reproduce any of the information. The information should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you. Medical Illustration Copyright ©

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Last reviewed: September 2023

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