New sterilization procedure without incisions

December 25, 2007 9:00:00 PM PST
A few Triangle doctors are performing a sterilization procedure in their offices -- a procedure that's traditionally executed in the hospital.

Essure is a form of permanent birth control for women that doesn't involve incisions.

After having three children, Leann Catowitz was sure she didn't want to have anymore.

"Positive," Catowitz said. "I have three boys and they keep me busy."

For two years she researched options fore sterilization, but it was as a surgical tech student, in the operating room, where she learned of a permanent sterilization procedure called essure. It doesn't involve any incisions.

"I didn't want to have surgery, so this was a really good option," Catowitz said.

She was let to Raleigh gynecologist Lisa Roberts after finding out the doctor could perform the quick Essure sterilization procedure outside the operating room.

"The advantages to this particular procedure over the traditional tubal ligation or even a vasectomy for men is it does not require incisions," Dr. Roberts explained. "There are no hormones involved. Women can potentially have the procedure done in the morning and go back to work that afternoon."

The FDA approved the procedure in 2002. It is normally performed in hospitals, but in Raleigh, the are two doctor's offices that offer it.

"I think it doesn't provoke as much anxiety as it may in a hospital setting," Catowitz said.

Dr. Roberts performs the essure procedure in her office with little or no anesthesia. A small telescope is placed into the uterus, then a tiny flexible coil called a micro insert is put into the fallopian tubal opening.

Over three months, scar tissue forms blocking the fallopian tubes, causing permanent birth control.

"Women need to be 100% certain they do not want to have any future children," Dr. Roberts said. "This procedure is not considered to be reversible."

For Catowitz, the minimally invasive sterilization procedure was the best option to keep her out of an operating room and from having anymore children.