After Your Tubal Reversal
What to Expect After Your Tubal Reversal
Donna Sisson, ST
After Surgery / During The Post-Operative Period:
One of our nurses will come to see you in your room at the Residence Inn Chapel Hill Hotel the morning after surgery (normally by 10:00 am). We will answer questions and check your incision. You should shower before she arrives, but do not remove the dressing as the nurse will change your dressing when she arrives. The nurse will arrive at your hotel room generally between 7 am and 10:00 am. Please do not leave your room until the nurse has seen you. If you aren't in your room when the nurse arrives, you will not be seen at the hotel and will need to come back to the clinic before leaving town. Please be sure that your husband or significant other is appropriately dressed when the nurse visits the room. Please refrain from smoking just prior to the nurse's arrival and during the nurse's visit. To accommodate post-op visits and any traffic problems, all departures by plane, bus or train must be scheduled for AFTER 12 noon.
A local anesthetic is used during surgery to help reduce post-operative discomfort. However, you will be given Hydrocodone with acetaminophen 5/500 (Vicodin), or a comparable narcotic pain reliever, in case you need it for pain relief following surgery. You should also bring a bottle of ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, etc) to have with you in your hotel room. We recommend you take ibuprofen for several days following your surgery. Narcotic pain medications, like Vicodin, decrease pain by blocking the pain signals to the brain. Ibuprofen improves pain control as well, but also helps to decrease any inflammation/swelling. A nurse will give you instructions on how to take these medications. Please bring a thermometer so that you can check your temperature the night of surgery and the following morning. You will only be allowed to have clear, non-carbonated liquids immediately after surgery, so you may want to bring some clear liquids with you to have available in your hotel room. You will be supplied with a complimentary welcome box at the Residence Inn Chapel Hill Hotel that will contain some snacks that are acceptable for you to eat after surgery. Things that are allowed include: Jell-O, water, apple juice, lemonade (without pulp), tea, and white grape juice. Avoid salty or high sodium foods and beverages for a few days after surgery to help to minimize swelling (water retention) after surgery. You should not eat solid food until after you have passed gas. You will be given chewing gum in the recovery room to begin chewing after you leave our facility. Studies have shown that chewing gum helps to stimulate a return to normal bowel activity following surgery and anesthesia. For some patients, this will happen within a few hours, but it is not unusual for there to be a delay until the morning after surgery. It is very important that you remain on clear liquids until after you have passed gas. During surgery, bowel activity will slow down and attempting to eat solid food before peristalsis (movement) returns could result in nausea/vomiting or bowel obstruction!
On a person of average weight, the incision length will be approximately 3 – 4 inches long. Based on your abdominal girth, the incision may be longer to provide better exposure for your tubal surgery. Staples are not used to close the incision. You may have steri-strips over the incision that will need to be removed after 5 days. You will have internal stitches that will dissolve on their own. The second day after your surgery, remove the dressing prior to showering and do not replace it. You should continue to wash the incision area daily using HIBICLENS®soap for one week post-operatively. In between showers the area should be kept clean and dry. Artificial nails and nail polish should be left off for one week post op. Fingernails should be scrubbed daily using HIBICLENS® soap for one week post-operatively. First scrub fingernails and THEN wash incision area.
It is not unusual to experience discomfort or burning around the incision site for up to 3 weeks following surgery. You will feel muscle soreness when you sit and stand. A hardness or “healing ridge” may develop beneath the incision and will soften after several weeks. If you develop a temperature of more than 100° F, redness or discharge from the incision, please call our office to speak to a nurse or page your tubal reversal surgeon. Each person has a different pain threshold, but the medications we have prescribed should keep you comfortable. If you experience discomfort that is not controlled by pain medication, please call our office to speak to a nurse or page your tubal reversal surgeon.
Although everyone recovers at a different rate, most patients are able to return to most of their normal activities within a week to ten days. Heavy lifting (more than 15 pounds) should be avoided for 4 weeks, but you may resume other activities of daily living, as you are comfortable. Some women may experience swelling or bloating for a few days to a few weeks following surgery. Walking short distances is not only okay, it will help you feel back to normal more quickly in most cases and will help to decrease complications associated with inactivity after surgery. Many women find it is helpful to use a small pillow to brace the incision area when coughing or to use as protection from the seat belt during car travel. If you feel that you need abdominal support, you may want to use an abdominal binder for several days.
You may resume intercourse and trying to conceive when you feel completely recovered from your surgery.
A patient's first few menstrual cycles after surgery may come earlier or later then anticipated. A home pregnancy test should be performed anytime you are late for your period.