Filshie clips can migrate, cause pain and heavy bleeding; lawsuits being investigated
Filshie clips have been used for over 30 years to permanently sterilize women who choose not to have more kids. Filshie clips are used during tubal ligation, a procedure that involves blocking a woman’s fallopian tubes so she cannot get pregnant. The small devices have been used in millions of women worldwide, and now numerous women are stepping forward to report serious side effects related to the clips. Filshie clip lawsuits are currently in the discovery phase and National Injury Help is investigating cases for potential litigation.
What are Filshie Clips?
Filshie clips are small, silicone-lined titanium clamps that are placed on the fallopian tubes during tubal ligation surgery. The clips, once closed, create a blockage in the tubes so eggs cannot reach the uterus and become fertilized. Filshie clips are intended to be used as a permanent form of birth control.
Created by Marcus Filshie in the late 1970s, more than 12 million women worldwide have undergone tubal ligation with Filshie clips. Introduced to the European market in 1982 and approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1996, Filshie clips have become the “gold standard” of tubal ligation and are a popular choice among doctors around the world.
Filshie clips are manufactured by Femcare-Nikomed and CooperSurgical. Filshie clips were seen as an alternative to electrocoagulation, which involved burning the fallopian tubes shut to prevent pregnancy. They offered a 99.76 percent long-term success rate, and women who underwent electrocoagulation risked accidental electrical burns and higher incidents of ectopic pregnancies as opposed to using Filshie clips. The clips also had a higher successful reversal rate, so most women who changed their minds post-surgery could get the clips removed and have children.
Potential complications associated with Filshie Clips
There are numerous case reports and other studies that describe complications associated with Filshie Clips, some being relatively severe.
Marcus Filshie’s own long-term studies have estimated clip migration could occur in 25 percent of women.
More than 20 case studies have been reported between 1990 and 2009 involving migration of Filshie clips from the fallopian tubes to other areas of the body, including the bladder, abdominal wall, groin, colon and vagina.
In some cases of migration, a woman may not show signs or symptoms; in other cases, a woman may have severe pain, bleeding or other adverse side effects. If a Filshie clip migrates to another part of the body, invasive surgery is often necessary to remove it.
In a case report published in August 2005 in BJOG, a 49-year-old woman passed a Filshie clip in her urine seven years after having tubal ligation surgery. She saw the clip on a piece of toilet paper she used after painfully passing several blood clots.
Another case report published in Pelviperineology in September 2010 indicated a 40-year-old woman’s Filshe clips migrated 10 years after her surgery. The woman went to her doctor complaining of severe pelvic pain and bleeding, and after several x-rays and another surgery, the doctor found her Filshie clip embedded in her bladder wall. Once doctors removed the clip, her symptoms reportedly subsided.
Heavy, painful periods
Many women report heavier and sometimes painful periods after having tubal ligation with Filshie clips.
A cohort study published in Maturitas in April 2010 confirms these reports and suggests menstrual symptoms increased following Filshie clip sterilization.
According to the study, the number of women reporting heavy periods increased from nine percent before surgery to 35 percent after surgery.
The number of women reporting painful periods increased from two percent before surgery to 21 percent after surgery.
Pelvic or other pain
Some women report pelvic or abdominal pain after undergoing tubal ligation surgery with Filshie clips. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Ultrasound in 1995 found that vascular resistance in the uterus and ovaries increased after Filshie clip sterilization. Vascular resistance is the degree to which blood vessels impede blood flow. High resistance results in an increase in blood pressure.
Women who reported pain after their surgery had even higher vascular resistance in the uterus and ovaries compared to women who did not report pain. This may explain why some women feel pain after surgery.
Post Tubal Ligation Syndrome
There is controversy in the medical field about whether or not Post Tubal Ligation Syndrome (PTLS) is “real” or not. To the women who experience the intense and often debilitating symptoms of PTLS, it is all too real.
There are several theories as to the possible cause of PTLS, but medical research is still inconclusive. In spite of this, some women who undergo tubal ligation report some of the following symptoms:
- Hot flashes, night sweats, flushes, cold flashes
- Bouts of rapid heartbeat
- Mood swings, sudden tears
- Trouble sleeping through the night
- Irregular periods: shorter and lighter, or heavier and longer
- Loss of libido
- Dry vagina
- Chronic fatigue
- Feelings of dread
- Difficulty concentrating, mental confusion
- Disturbing memory lapses
- Prolapsed of uterus due to rapid decrease in estrogen levels
- Aching, sore joints, muscles or tendons
- Breast tenderness
- Decrease in breast mass
- Headache change: increased or decreased
- Weight gain
- Hair loss or thinning
- Changes in body odor
- Changes in fingernails
- Pelvic pain
- Allergies developing or increasing
Women come together in support groups
Support groups for women who are suffering from pain and other adverse effects after tubal ligation with Filshie clips are being formed all across the Internet.
Raising awareness and educating women about the signs and symptoms of PTLS, these groups are helping women who underwent surgery and are looking for options to alleviate their pain. Many women report tubal reversal surgeries helped reverse most of their symptoms.
Some of these support groups can be found on Facebook, including Post Tubal Ligation Syndrome Support and Advocacy Group (over 1800 members) and Stop Filshie Clips (over 400 members).
Filshie Clip Lawsuits
Filshie clip lawsuits are currently in the discovery phase and National Injury Help is investigating cases for potential litigation.
Filshie clips lawsuit page updated on July 17, 2019