Filshie Clips

Filshie Clips have been used in millions of women as a method of permanent sterilization. The small devices are used to perform tubal ligation, often after a woman gives birth via C-section. While Filshie Clips are nearly 100% effective at preventing pregnancy, a growing number of women claim to have experienced painful complications following their sterilization procedure, including migration of the clips.

What are Filshie Clips?

Filshie Clips are mall, hinged titanium clips lined with a soft silastic rubber. Also known as tubal clips, the devices are now considered the “gold standard” for tubal ligation. Manufacturers claim that the Filshie Clips are associated with a long-term success rate of 99.76% and a low rate of ectopic pregnancies.

Filshie Clips were introduced in 1981, and approved for sale in the U.S. in 1997. Before the advent of Filshie Clips, tubal ligations were done via electrocautery, where the fallopian tube is burned so that it no longer functions. Unlike this older method, a tubal ligation performed with Filshie Clips can sometimes be reversed if a woman decides to have more children.

How do Filshie Clips Work?

Filshie Clips work by blocking the fallopian tubes, thus preventing an unfertilized egg from traveling to the uterus where it may become fertilized by sperm. The egg is then reabsorbed by the body.

Filshie Clips may be applied during a laparoscopic procedure, or after a C-Section. During laparoscopic surgery, two small incisions will be made in the lower area of the abdomen to access the fallopian tube. A laparoscope, a long thin instrument that includes a tiny camera at one end, will be inserted so that the physician performing the procedure is able to view the fallopian tubes. A Filshie Clip applicator is then used to place one clip over each fallopian tube.

Following a C-section, Filshie Clips are applied to the fallopian tubes just prior to closure of the C-section incision.

Potential Complications Associated with Tubal Ligation

Complications that may be associated with any method of tubal ligation include:

  • Bleeding from a skin incision or inside the abdomen
  • Infection
  • Damage to other organs inside the abdomen
  • Side effects from anesthesia
  • Ectopic pregnancy (an egg that becomes fertilized outside the uterus)
  • Incomplete closing of a fallopian tube that results in pregnancy

Some women have reportedly experienced the following ide effects following application of Filshie Clips or tubal ligation:

  • Filshie Clip migration
  • Massive swelling in the abdomen
  • Pain in or around the uterus
  • Heavy menstrual flow
  • Headaches
  • Endometriosis
  • Weight gain
  • Stabbing pains
  • Pain during intercourse

Filshie Clip Adverse Event Report Logged with FDA

As of February 2016, one Filshie Clip adverse event report had been logged with the FDA’s medical device database:

“The pt presented with pelvic pain and it was reported to be going on for about a yr. The surgery revealed ovaries normal limits, uterus and anterior fundal fibroid. Some dilation of proximal left fallopian tube. Filshie clip was completely disconnected from the tube and adhered in the mesosalpinx and to the cornul region of the uterus. Tubes separated bilaterally and filshie clip was not attached to the right fallopian tube as well which was just sitting in the mesosalpinx.”

Women who may have sustained complications related to Filshie Clips are urged to report their experiences to the FDA. Reports may be made via the FDA’s MedWatcher Mobile App available at the agency’s website.

  1. AJOG (2000) “The Filshie clip for female sterilization: a review of world experience.”
  2. AHC Media (1999) “Filshie Clip System Gains U.S. Acceptance”
  3. net (2006) “The Filshie Clip”
  4. Johns Hopkins Medicine (2015) “Tubal Ligation”,27/
Last Modified: March 8, 2016

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