Over the past two years, Dr. John Siegle and a team of residents at OU Medical Center have studied the question of whether women who have only one Fallopian tube can have their tubes tied.
The group produced two research papers, one of which focused on whether Essure — a birth control procedure which does not require surgery — was effective on patients who have only one Fallopian tube, said Siegle, an obstetrician gynecologist in Ada. The second project examined whether hysterectomies could be performed on women who have already had the Essure procedure.
The two projects were reproduced on posters, which will be presented at the American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology’s District 7 conference. The event is set for Sept. 27 in San Antonio, Texas.
The research showed that there are several options for women seeking tubal ligation, Siegle said in a Sept. 13 interview.
“This will allow physicians to open up a new option for their patients and by offering patients a new option, that really empowers the patient,” he said.
Siegle works at the Southeastern Women’s Health Center, which offers the Essure procedure. He added that the procedure can be performed in a doctor’s office, saving patients time and money.
Doctors performing the Essure procedure place soft, flexible implants in a woman’s Fallopian tubes, according to the company’s website. The implants are made of the same material used in heart stents and other medical devices.
Over the next three months, the patient’s body works with the inserts to form a natural barrier in the Fallopian tubes. The barrier blocks sperm from reaching the egg, preventing pregnancy.
Women who undergo the procedure must use another form of birth control during the three-month period. The doctor will perform an Essure confirmation test to verify that the inserts are in place and the tubes are completely blocked.
The procedure is covered by major health insurance carriers, including Medicaid, according to the website.
The procedure is normally recommended for women who have both Fallopian tubes, but some patients only have one. Some patients may have a genetic abnormality which caused them to have only one Fallopian tube, and others may have had one of their tubes surgically removed.
Siegle said the team’s first research paper indicated that the procedure can benefit women who do not have both tubes.
“What we showed is that we’re capable of performing sterilization on those patients that have one Fallopian tube and that it is an effective sterilization procedure for those patients, so that they don’t have to undergo surgery,” he said.
The second paper focused on women who have had their tubes tied but later required a hysterectomy. The research team found that it is possible to perform hysterectomies in those cases and remove the Essure implants without having to make an incision in the abdomen.
Siegle said researchers reviewed case studies on three women who had single Fallopian tubes and two patients who had hysterectomies.
‘It doesn’t sound like a lot of cases, but it’s a lot more than anybody else has done, which is why it was accepted,” he said.