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Surgical Management of Retained Pregnancy General Anaesthetic

Date issued: May 2022

Review date: May 2024

Ref: B-459/RR/early pregnancy/surgical management of retained pregnancy general anaesthetic v2

PDF:  Surgical Management of retained pregnancy general anaesthetic final May 2022 v2.pdf[pdf] 250KB

We hope this information is useful for you in preparing to come into hospital for your procedure.

Please report to: ___________________ at 07.00

On   ______________________

  • Please ensure you have had nothing to eat or drink from midnight. This will reduce your risk of vomiting or regurgitating food whilst you are under anaesthetic.

  • You may be given a prescription for some pessaries (vaginal tablets) to give to yourself prior to admission. These soften the cervix (neck of the womb) and makes it easier to open during the procedure.

  • Bring a dressing gown and slippers and suitable underwear so that you can wear a sanitary towel.

  • Do not wear make-up, nail varnish or jewellery (except a wedding ring).

Please do not bring valuables into hospital

Note: you should arrange for a responsible adult to accompany you home and to remain with you overnight.

What is Surgical management of retained pregnancy tissue

Surgical management of retained pregnancy tissue involves removing any parts of your pregnancy that may remain in your womb.

What happens?

On your admission, the person with you will be given a telephone number and advised an approximate time to phone and arrange to collect you. However, someone may stay with you on the pre-operative ward until you go to theatre. When you have left the ward, they are welcome to stay on that ward if they wish until you are ready to go home.

Please note: you will be cared for post operatively on another ward and visitors are not allowed until you are nearly ready for discharge.

Before your operation the doctors will explain the procedure to you including the risks.

You will be given a light general anaesthetic.

The operation is performed through the cervix (neck of the womb).

The procedure takes 5-10 minutes.

Possible risks or complications

The risks of the operation are made as small as possible by operating in a sterile environment and giving you antibiotics afterwards.

The most common problems are:

  • Bleeding

  • Subsequent infection in the uterus (womb)

  • Damage to the cervix or the uterus.

  • Very rarely, an operation may be required if there is any damage to the uterus.

  • There is a rare chance that some of the retained tissue is missed, and you will require a further operation to remove it.

  • Your gynaecologist and nurse will ensure that appropriate measures are taken to reduce the risk of complications.

What happens after my surgery?

When you return to the ward you will still be feeling sleepy, but physically well, although you may experience some abdominal cramping.

You may have a ‘drip’ or cannula (venflon) in place. This will be removed when you have had a drink, some biscuits or a sandwich and have passed urine.

If you are a Rhesus negative blood group, you may require an injection of anti-D prior to discharge.

Once you are fully recovered, you are usually able to go home, after about two hours.

You will be given a course of antibiotics to take for 1 week to reduce the risk of infection (please complete the course!).

Don’t forget you should arrange for someone to stay with you for the first 24 hours after the operation.

Post anaesthetic information

Some side effects may occur in the first 24 hours following the general anaesthetic.

They include:

  • Headache

  • Dizziness

  • Nausea (a feeling of sickness)

  • Drowsiness

  • A dry or sore throat

Therefore, even if you feel perfectly well DO NOT:

  • Drive a motor vehicle, motorcycle, or bicycle. You may not be covered by your insurance.

  • Drink alcohol

  • Return to work

  • Do any cooking (risk of scalding etc.)

  • Use electrical tools

  • Sign any important documents.

You can eat and drink normally after discharge from hospital.

What to expect

  • You may bleed after the operation, but the amount varies from person to person. It may last up to three weeks (perhaps on and off) just like a period and usually turns a brownish colour.

  • Provided that you do not bleed very heavily with bright red blood, do not worry.

  • You may get cramp like pains for a few days. A simple pain killer such as one you would normally take for a headache should relieve this.

To help avoid getting an infection during this time:

  • Use sanitary towels rather than tampons.

  • Avoid sexual intercourse for two weeks after the      operation.

  • You may have baths or showers as normal.

What symptoms should I be worried about?

If you develop any of the following symptoms, please see your own doctor immediately:

  • Severe or continuous pain.

  • Heavy bright red vaginal, or prolonged bleeding

  • A high temperature

  • Feel generally unwell, have flu like symptoms or a smelly vaginal discharge

  • Feel faint

  • If you notice a red inflamed patch on either breast.

What happens to the pregnancy tissue?

All pregnancy tissue will be disposed of sensitively and with the utmost respect in accordance with the choices of the mother. You will be given information about the choices available and can discuss this with the nurse looking after you.

If you have any concerns or are unsure what to do please do ring for advice

Early Pregnancy Unit

08.00 – 17.30, Monday to Friday

01752 430887/ 01752 245212

All other times

Ocean Suite (Gynae ward) 01752 430026

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