When a woman has decided that she would like to pursue permanent sterilization, there are 2 different procedures that can be performed. The first is a bilateral tubal ligation, also known as having your tubes tied. The second is an Essure tubal occlusion or tubal blockage.
These two hormone-free procedures are performed in entirely different fashions. The bilateral tubal ligation is performed in the operating room while you are asleep with general anesthesia. During this procedure, one or two small incisions are made on the abdomen to allow for the placement of a small clip onto each fallopian tube to permanently block the tubes. The Essure tubal occlusion does not require any incisions. It is a gentle procedure that is typically performed in the comfort of the doctor’s office using oral sedation and a small injection of local anesthetics into the cervix.
Thereafter, the doctor passes a small camera through the cervix into the uterine cavity and then places a soft, flexible micro-insert into each fallopian tube. Over the next few weeks, the tubal tissue forms a natural barrier around the micro-inserts to permanently block the tubes.
Permanent Sterilization Recovery Time
These procedures also differ with respect to how patients recover from them. With the bilateral tubal ligation, women typically recover from the pain of the procedure within 1 – 2 weeks, whereas, with the Essure tubal occlusion, women typically recover within 1 – 2 days.
Three months after an Essure tubal occlusion is performed, a brief x-ray called an Essure Confirmation Test is performed to confirm that the tubes are blocked. There is no x-ray performed after a bilateral tubal ligation.
Permanent Sterilization Effects on the Body
Another difference between the two procedures is how they may affect the menstrual cycle. Studies indicate that the bilateral tubal ligation slightly increases the risk for irregular bleeding. The Essure tubal occlusion has no effect on the bleeding pattern.
The success rates of the two procedures are quite similar with approximately 4-5 women per thousand getting pregnant in a lifetime after the procedure. However, the Essure tubal occlusion has a higher success rate than any other form of women’s birth control.
If you are interested in permanent sterilization, please discuss this topic with Dr. McDyer or Dr. Suhrer so that he can help determine the proper procedure for you.