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Elizabeth Elguera, MD
No-Incision Permanent Birth Control
Advanced Women's Health Care, PC

No-Incision Permanent Birth Control

A new no-incision permanent birth control procedure is available for those women who are tired of having to constantly use temporary birth control methods. This procedure takes about 15 minutes and can often be performed in a doctor’s office. The Essure procedure is the first and only FDA approved female sterilization procedure to have zero pregnancies in the clinical trials.

The procedure is different than the traditional method of a surgical tubal ligation. There is no cutting into the body. Instead, spring-like coils (called micro-inserts) are inserted through the vagina, then into the uterus and into the fallopian tubes. These inserts cause scar tissue to build up in the fallopian tubes, causing blockage of the tube. This blockage of the tube prevents the man’s sperm from meeting the woman’s egg, thus preventing pregnancy.

The buildup of the scar tissue takes about three months, and during this time a woman will need to continue to use a temporary form of birth control such as condoms or birth control hormones (available by pills, patch, vaginal ring or injection). After three months, an Essure confirmation test, a special type of x-ray to confirm that the tubes are completely blocked, will be performed.

Unlike birth control pills, patches, rings, and some forms of IUDs, Essure does not contain hormones to interfere with your natural menstrual cycle. Tubal sterilization does not affect your ability to have or enjoy sex. However, sterilization does not prevent sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Condoms should be used for protection against STDs.

Tubal blockage can also be performed by a procedure known as laparoscopy. This requires a small incision in the navel of the abdomen and general anesthesia and must be performed in a hospital or surgical center. The procedure takes about 15 minutes, but most women spend about four hours in the hospital. The advantage to this type of tubal sterilization is that it is effective immediately. Side effects include abdominal pain and fatigue, and, less commonly, dizziness, nausea, shoulder pain, bloating or sore throat. Serious complications, such as infections, bowel injuries, bleeding, burns, or complications from anesthesia, are very uncommon. The risk of getting pregnant after tubal sterilization is very low (less than 1%).

Sterilization should not be considered a reversible procedure. You must be certain that you do not want children in the future. If you are sterilized and you change your mind after the operation, attempts to reverse it may not work. Even after tubal sterilization is successfully reversed, many women are still not able to get pregnant. In women who have had tubal sterilization and get pregnant, more than half of these pregnancies are not in the uterus and can endanger the mother’s health. In clinical trial with Essure there were zero pregnancies.

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