Minimally Invasive Female Sterilization
What is minimally invasive female sterilization?
Female sterilization is a permanent method of birth control. There are two minimally invasive procedures for achieving this.
The first is laparoscopic tubal ligation, also known as having one’s tubes tied. This involves tying, clipping or blocking a woman’s fallopian tubes. This is done by inserting a laparoscopic camera through an incision in the navel and then inserting specialized surgical instruments through 2-3 tiny incisions in the lower abdomen.
The second, newer procedure is called Essure and it requires no incisions. Instead instruments are inserted through the cervix into the uterus. The surgeon puts a metal coil into the opening of each fallopian tube. Over the months following the procedure, scar tissue forms around the coil. The scar tissue blocks the tubes preventing fertilization. Patients are required to have an x-ray 3 months after the procedure to ensure that the tubes are fully blocked. Until the x-ray is done, the patient uses another form of birth control.
What are the advantages of laparoscopic tubal ligation and Essure?
Laparoscopic tubal ligation requires only tiny surgical incisions. As a result, there is less blood loss, less scarring, and less post-operative pain. The recovery time is significantly shorter than after traditional surgery.
With Essure no incisions are made. There is no need for general anesthesia and virtually no post-op pain.
Who should have minimally invasive female sterilization?
Only women interested in permanent birth control should consider either of these procedures. Patients should discuss the options with their doctor to determine which method is right for them.
Is there a hospital stay after surgery?
Both procedures are performed on an outpatient basis. The patient will arrive about 2 hours prior to surgery and often leave 1-2 hours after the surgery is finished.
What kind of a recovery can be expected?
Laparoscopic tubal ligation patients can expect to return to work within 1-2 weeks after surgery. Essure patients have virtually no post-op pain and can therefore resume normal activities shortly after surgery. They are required to have an x-ray 3 months after surgery to ensure that the tubes are fully blocked. Until that time, alternative birth control must be used.