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Obstet Gynecol. 1990 Sep;76(3 Pt 1):461-5.

Gross and histologic examination of tubal ligation failures in a residency training program.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Tennessee, Memphis.


A previous study from this institution revealed laparoscopic tubal sterilization failure rates of 26.5 per 1000 and 45.5 per 1000, respectively, for the tubal ring and spring-loaded clip in procedures performed by residents in training. In an effort to identify potential anatomical reasons for this unacceptably high failure rate, 20 patients becoming pregnant after laparoscopic tubal occlusion underwent bilateral salpingectomy. Gross and histologic evaluation of the surgical specimens demonstrated improper application of the occlusive device in all cases. Seventeen patients were found to have nonoccluded or partially occluded tubes on one or both sides, with all occlusive devices located in the infundibular segment. Two patients were missing tubal rings on one side, and the remaining patient had a tubal ring misapplied to the round ligament. Sixteen residents who had completed a 1-month rotation on the ambulatory surgery service were given a standardized interview to assess their knowledge of proper sterilization techniques as well as their training experience. The frequency of incorrect responses given to four specific questions concerning proper placement of the tubal ring and spring-loaded clip ranged from 43.8-81.2%. The sterilization failure rate at this institution appears to be directly related to the resident surgeon's lack of understanding of the operative technique. Realizing that our institution is not unlike most other resident training programs, we developed a standardized education program including formal instruction of residents in proper sterilization technique and have altered supervisory guidelines for attending surgeons.

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