WASHINGTON (AP) -- The government has approved the first nonsurgical method of sterilizing women, a tiny device called Essure that could transform the way many women end their childbearing years.
Scientists long have tried, and failed, to develop a way to sterilize women without surgery; sterilization remains the most widely used form of birth control. More than 180 million women worldwide have had the procedure performed, including an estimated 700,000 Americans a year.
Essure requires no cutting and only a local anesthetic in a half-hour procedure that promises to block the fallopian tubes as effectively.
"This is a very exciting, innovative method," said Dr. Vanessa Cullins of Planned Parenthood.
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