Female Sterilization

No method of birth control is without its drawbacks. After you’ve struggled with various birth control methods for a while, and after you’ve had all the children you want, you may want to consider permanent birth control, or sterilization. Female sterilization is a procedure that works by blocking the Fallopian tubes, thus preventing the eggs released by the ovaries from reaching the uterus and being fertilized by sperm.

How does it work? We provide permanent female sterilization in one of two methods, depending upon patient choice and request.

  • ESSURE: The newest and least invasive procedure is called ESSURE (www.essure.com). With this method, the physician uses a small camera to insert two micro-inserts in to the fallopian tube, where they then cause occlusion of the fallopian tubes and no longer allow a uterine pregnancy to form. In addition to the routine 2 week follow-up appointment with FPAMG, patients also are required to have a follow-up x-ray to confirm proper placement and occlusion of the fallopian tubes at 90 days. With the ESSURE method, there is no need for an incision through the abdominal wall and the healing time is greatly reduced. The procedure is covered by most insurance plans, including Medi-Cal, Family PACT (SOFP), and many independent health plans in Southern California. In many ways, the ESSURE procedure has revolutionized the way in which permanent female sterilization is accomplished.
  • TUBAL CAUTERIZATION: This is the “traditional” tubal sterilization procedure where two small incisions are made in the abdominal wall of the patient and the fallopian tubes are scarred by cauterization (aka. burning) to cause occlusion. Unlike the newer ESSURE (www.essure.com) procedure, this method does involve two surgical incisions.

Both methods are equally effective and will produce the desired permanent female sterilization that is required.

Effectiveness: Tubal sterilization by either method is considered 99% effective in preventing pregnancy. The incidence of pregnancy after tubal cauterization is less than 3-4 in 1000.

Permanence: Tubal sterilization is considered permanent. It is theoretically possible to reconnect the tubes, but the operation is expensive and complex, requiring a major incision and hospital stay, and is not always successful. You should choose this form of birth control only if you are certain that you don’t want any more children.

Counseling: If you are interested in one of our tubal sterilization procedures, you can make an appointment with one of FPA’s skilled treatment coordinators who will answer your questions and help you make sure this procedure is right for you.

How long does it take? Tubal sterilization by either method takes only about 30 minutes. However, with the preparation and post-operative observation, your stay in the clinic is about five hours.

Recovery: You will be discharged from the clinic a few hours after your surgery. We advise you to rest for a day. Your throat may be a little sore from the administration of the anesthesia, and you may have a small amount of vaginal spotting. Every woman is different, so the time needed to recover from surgery will vary, but we recommend that you avoid heavy lifting and wait until after your two weeks post-operative check-up to have intercourse.

Complications: No surgery is risk-free. Complications are rare; however, they do exist. Your treatment coordinator will explain them to you.

After Effects: After the Fallopian tubes have been blocked, the ovaries continue to function normally. Sterilization has no effect on the production of hormones, nor does it interfere with menstruation or menopause. It causes no physical changes.

The only after-effect is a beneficial one; without the fear of an unwanted pregnancy, you will probably feel a new sense of freedom and an increase in sexual response.

Cost: In keeping with FPA’s commitment to provide quality care at moderate cost, the fee for sterilization includes counseling, the procedure, and follow-up care. During your first appointment, we will review the charges with you and help you decide what form of payment is best suited to your financial position. We accept private insurance, Medi-Cal, Family PACT (SOFP), and work closely with several other health plans to provide services to their patients.

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