Tubal Sterilization (cont.)
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Non-Surgical Tubal Ligation
There is a device that acts as a form of tubal ligation by blocking the interior of the Fallopian tubes. The US Food and Drug Administration has approved a small metallic implant (called the Essure System) that is placed into the Fallopian tubes of women who wish to be permanently sterilized. Unlike other currently available tubal sterilization procedures for women, placement of the device does not require an incision or general anesthesia.
During the Essure procedure, the health care professional inserts an obstructive device into each of the two Fallopian tubes at the time of hysteroscopy. This is done with a special catheter that is inserted through the vagina into the uterus and then into the Fallopian tube. The device works by inducing scar tissue to form over the implant, blocking the Fallopian tube and preventing fertilization of the egg by the sperm.
A system similar to the Essure, known as the Asiana System is also available. With this technology silicone implants are introduced into the Fallopian tubes via hysteroscopy. These implants also induce scar tissue formation in the tubes, thus blocking the sperm from reaching the egg.
Tubal Ligation Risks
As with any surgery, there is always a risk when a person is given general anesthesia. Surgery itself may present problems with bleeding, infection, or damage to surrounding organs. However, tubal ligation is considered to be a very safe procedure with an overall complication rate of less than 1%.
There is still a chance a woman may become pregnant after tubal ligation. About 1 in 200 women become pregnant who have their tubes tied. This may be caused by an incomplete obstruction of the tubes. If a pregnancy occurs after the procedure, the woman is at increased risk for an ectopic pregnancy (the pregnancy develops outside of the uterus, most commonly in the Fallopian tube). An ectopic pregnancy may be dangerous and requires emergent medical care.
Because the procedure is performed by tiny instruments inserted into the abdomen, the patient may have injury to other organs in the body.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/18/2015
Avi J Sklar, MD, FACOG, FACS, FRCSC
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