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Dan C. Martin, MD
UT Medical Group, Inc.

University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC)

UTHSC Academic Office

Daniel Clyde Martin, M.D.
UT Medical Group, Inc.
Infertility and Gynecology
Reproductive Surgery
Germantown Office Building
7945 Wolf River Boulevard
Suite 320
Germantown, Tennessee
TN 38138-1733

(901) 347-8331
(901) 347-8188 fax
Directions to Office

Updated information is at
UTMG 2006

Click for information on:
Glenn Ann Martin, Ph.D.
Clinical Psychologist

FEMALE STERILIZATION

     [Decision] [Incisions] [Complications] [Afterwards]   

Before deciding to have a sterilization operation,

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Be sure you have no desire for future pregnancies, these operations are not designed to be reversible,

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Consider vasectomy for your partner, it is generally easier to sterilize a male than a female.

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Consider reversible contraception such as an intrauterine device (IUD) that have less than a 2% failure rate over 7 years.

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If you change you mind and want a tubal reversal, these can be successful in some women.  The success rates for reversal depend on the amount of tube remaining, age, and other fertility factors.

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The surgical incisions for female sterilization include:

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Laparoscopy (Band Aid surgery). This can be done under local or general anesthesia and is most commonly done as an out-patient.

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Laparotomy or minilaparotomy. A small incision is made at the hairline. This can be used with epidural anesthesia.

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Vaginal tubal ligation. This leaves no visible scar, but may increase bleeding and infection.

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Laparoscopy is generally an out-patient procedure and you will usually be asleep for less than one hour. Common side effects include shoulder pain, bloating, vaginal bleeding, bladder spasm, itching where hair was shaved, sore throat, and leaking of the flotation fluid. About 1 in 20 patients stay overnight due to nausea, drowsiness or pain.

Complications such as bleeding, infection, allergy, and urinary retention require hospitalization in 1 in 400 patients. Major complications that require further surgery or require blood transfusion occur in 1 in 1,200 sterilization laparoscopies. Severe complications such as hysterectomy, paralysis, colostomy, coma or death are rare.

Problems of longer term discomfort related to scarring may be present as it is with any surgery. This appears to affect less than 5 percent of women and is generally avoided using electrical coagulation.

Previous surgery or infection can cause tubal scarring. If this is moderate, the tubes may be removed to decrease long term pain. If this is severe, we may have to delay tubal surgery for plans which can include the possibility of hysterectomy

The risk of future pregnancy may be as high as 2 percent. Although this is true of any simple sterilization operation, coagulation may have a slightly higher failure rate than silastic bands. Removing the tubes may be more successful than burning, banding or tying them. The only sterilization which is absolute is to remove the uterus, tubes and ovaries.

Pictures may be taken during surgery to show you what was seen and done. They are also used to teach other patients and other surgeons.

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After surgery:

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You should avoid any activities that require concentration for 2 days.

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You can usually return to work and normal tasks by 3 to 10 days.

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You may take 3 to 8 weeks to feel completely well.

Be sure to have your questions answered before the day of surgery.

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Dr. Martin's office for infertility, fertility preservation, reproductive surgery and gynecology is located at 7945 Wolf River Boulevard, Suite 320, Germantown, TN 38138. Memphis, Tennessee is convenient to Arkansas (AR), Mississippi (MS), Missouri (MO), western Kentucky (KY), and southern Illinois (IL).

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