Ask the Nurse

I am 34 years and I have one child and I am not looking to have another. I have high blood pressure and my first child was a risk. What are my options for permanent sterilization?

In the United States, there is approximately 500,000 to 600,000 vasectomies per year compared to 600,000 to 700,000 tubal ligations per year. Compared to tubal ligations, vasectomies are less expensive and associated with less severe complications. As of yet, no mortalities have been reported from vasectomies, however tubal ligations can rarely be associated with complications and even more rarely, mortality. Both procedures are associated with low failure rates.

Depending on how the specific procedure was performed, failures rates range from 1/100 to 1/1200 for vasectomies. For tubal ligations, the failure rate is approximately 1 in 200 procedures within the first year. The younger a woman is when she had sterilization performed, the higher the risk of sterilization failure.

There are many different ways to perform permanent female sterilization, either by removing part of the tube or occluding the tube. Also, not all patients are good candidates for tubal ligation, so other medical conditions need to be considered before a patient proceeds with surgery.

Another form of sterilization, called Essure, is an office based procedure and does not require an incision. It does require contraception for several months after the procedure and an imaging study to confirm its effectiveness after the procedure. One final fact to keep in mind is that an intrauterine device (IUD) has comparable failure rates as tubal ligations and is not associated with the risk of surgery. Please schedule a visit with your ob/gyn to discuss the various options for permanent sterilization.

All My Best,
Speaking of Women’s Health Nurse

October 15, 2015 at 3:44pm