Essure is the only non-surgical permanent birth control option on the market. The procedure may be performed in a single office visit or outpatient surgery center. Essure does not contain hormones, is 99% effective in preventing pregnancy, and requires very little to no recovery time after placement. A hysteroscope is a tube attached to a camera. While the patient is anesthetized, this hysteroscope is inserted through the dilated cervix, and the inside of the uterine cavity can be seen. Under direct visualization, a small nickel-titanium based coil is placed into each fallopian tube, creating a barrier that prevents sperm from reaching eggs, thus preventing pregnancy. As it takes a few months for a natural barrier to develop over the inserted coils, additional forms of birth control should be used until sterilization can be confirmed by a doctor.
Patients who are not sure if they are pregnant, have become pregnant in the last six weeks, or are uncertain about ending their fertility are not good candidates for Essure. Women who have an active pelvic infection, allergic to nickel or contrast dye, are not good candidates for Essure. The Essure procedure is permanent sterilization and therefore, it is considered irreversible.
Women should plan on using additional contraception for 3 months after placement of Essure. An x-ray test will be performed 3 months after the procedure to ensure the fallopian tubes have been completely blocked. If not, the patient should continue to use alternative methods of birth control for an additional 3 months until Essure’s effectiveness can be confirmed. Patients can experience mild to moderate pain immediately after Essure is placed including cramping and pelvic or back pain. This discomfort usually goes away within a few days of the procedure. In rare cases, part of the insert may break off or puncture the fallopian tube requiring surgery to retrieve the piece or repair the area.