A Newer, Safer Permanent Contraceptive Option for WomenBy- Dr. Joan Marie PellegriniWhen a woman is certain that she no longer wants the option to get pregnant, she has a choice of continuing on with her current contraceptive method or considering a surgical option. The most common choice for permanent sterilization is a tubal ligation (getting her tubes tied). A tubal ligation offers the benefit of being highly successful, relatively safe, and permanent. It is immediately effective and allows for a woman to discontinue her â€œpillsâ€. The pill is hormonal based and there are many women who are at risk of complications if they take hormones. These complications include blood clots, stroke, and increased risk of certain cancers. Because a womanâ€™s fallopian tubes are inside her pelvis, tubal ligation would require anesthesia, at least one incision in the belly, and must to be done in the operating room. The recovery time is several hours in the procedure center and then 1-3 days at home. Some women are not candidates for this procedure because of anesthetic or surgical risks.In 2002, the FDA approved a new procedure called Essure. This procedure is done in the doctorâ€™s office and requires no anesthesia. The doctor inserts coils into the fallopian tubes and these coils cause scarring and blockage of the tubes. The woman can drive herself home or to work after the procedure and there is minimal discomfort. Some other form of contraception (pregnancy prevention) must be used for 3 months after the procedure until a hysterogram (an xray using dye of the uterus) is done to confirm that the tubes are blocked. Many experts feel this procedure is safer than tubal ligation and has a similar failure rate. Neither of these procedures is 100% effective however, the failure rate is extremely low and better than that with hormonal manipulation (the pill).A quick look at the Essure webpage reveals that there are at least 6 gynecologists in the Bangor region that perform this procedure. Clearly, this procedure is becoming well-endorsed by the gynecologic community. There is one another hysteroscopic method that is FDA-approved. It is likely that in the future there will be even more options available and your gynecologist will advise you on which one is best for you.Permanent sterilization procedures should be considered irreversible. Studies show that 3-25% of women eventually regret having a sterilization performed. For more information:www.essure.com This site is supported by the company that makes the coils.http://www.uptodate.com/contents/patient-information-permanent-sterilization-procedures-for-women This site is not industry-sponsored and is an excellent source for non-biased information on sterilization procedures. There are also other excellent resources listed.http://www.americanpregnancy.org/preventingpregnancy/birthcontrolfailure.htmlThis site offers information on all of the methods used to prevent pregnancy. This site is not industry-sponsored.