What is Tubal Ligation with Clips?

Tubal ligation with clips is a method of female sterilization performed to prevent pregnancy. In this procedure, a hinged or spring-loaded clip is attached to each fallopian tube, inhibiting blood flow and ovulation. This lowers the likelihood of fertilization. The method is reported to be more than 99% effective in preventing pregnancy.

This procedure is commonly performed through laproscopic surgery. Clips may also be applied through laparotomy, or open abdominal surgery, but this is more invasive and may not be necessary. In a laproscopic tubal ligation with clips, the surgeon makes a small incision in the naval area. Then, he or she inserts a long, thin instrument through the incision. This instrument allows the surgeon to view the fallopian tubes and to carefully apply a clip to each one, closing or locking the clip into place. The clip covers the entire fallopian tube, compressing it to block normal function.

The clips used in this form of tubal ligation are small, generally no more than 0.5 inch (3.81 centimeters) long, just large enough to compress the full width of the fallopian tube. Clips are usually made of stainless steel or titanium, and may be spring-loaded or hinged. The fallopian tube may seal itself shut under the compression of the clip.

The advantages of a tubal ligation with clips include permanent and highly successful birth control that generally does not require further action. Clips usually do not need to be removed for the rest of the patient's life. Though the procedure may require a higher up-front cost than some other forms of birth control, it is a one-time cost and may be covered by medical insurance.

Although a tubal ligation with clips is considered a fairly safe and simple procedure, it does come with some risks. A small percentage of patients experience such problems as ectopic pregnancy, injury to surrounding organs during surgery, heavy blood loss, and problems with general anesthesia. It is possible that clips can cause complete closure of the fallopian tubes, making reversal more difficult. There is a slight risk of becoming pregnant after the surgery, but this is less than 1%. It is also possible for the clips to become separated from the fallopian tubes.

A tubal ligation with clips, like a standard tubal ligation, is considered a permanent method of birth control, but it can be reversed in some cases. This procedure may not cause as much damage to the tissue of the fallopian tubes as some other types of tubal ligation. Surgery is required to remove the clips and repair and reattach the fallopian tube in the area where the clip was placed. Though successful pregnancy following reversal is not guaranteed, it is reported that up to 70% of patients have a positive result.

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How much does this type of tubal ligation cost? I'm interested in having this procedure performed, but unsure about the upfront price and if it will be covered by my insurance plan.

I'm also concerned about the potential for pregnancy after tubal ligation -- I do not want another child, but I'm fairly young and may end up changing my mind down the road.

Does anyone know if an IUD or a tubal ligation would be better in this type of situation?

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