When it comes female sterilization, the techniques and options have come a long way baby.
“We pretty much had one way of approaching permanent sterilization. And that was surgical through the belly button or at the time of a cesarean/C-section. Recently we have had some fabulous new options that are done in an office setting, under local anesthesia,” says Dr. Edward Halpren, ob/gyn on Lee Memorial Health System’s medical staff.
The fundamental of sterilization is to prevent the union of sperm and egg and eliminate the possibility of a pregnancy. Female procedures involve blocking the fallopian tubes. That part hasn’t changed. But many doctors are taking a new approach.
“What we’re talking about is an office procedure, which is transvaginal sterilization. Where instead of approaching the tube and dissecting the tube or clamping the tube or cutting the tube or even burning the tube - we plug the tube. It’s through the vagina, through the cervix and the tube is plugged from inside the uterus,” says Dr. Halpren.
It’s a no-incision method since the procedure is performed through a natural opening. Doctors insert a coil to foil pregnancy. The body forms scar tissue around the coil, which eventually blocks the fallopian tubes.
“Three months after that procedure we do a dye test to determine both tubes have been blocked and that is called hysterosalpingogram,” says Dr. Halpren.
Transvaginal sterilization may be a good option for women who waited until after their children were born to decide their family was complete. And now want to avoid another surgery.
“Most women do not want to have another surgical event. They don’t want that two, three week down time. They want to walk out of the office with an incision-less surgery and know they have a permanent procedure that’s safe and effective,” says Dr. Halpren.
The entire procedure takes under a half hour, because there is no incision, women are back to their normal activities within a day.