by Scholten A

A Less Invasive Sterilization Option for Women

satisfied Female sterilization has traditionally been done with tubal ligation. This is a surgical procedure where the fallopian tubes are cut and tied to keep eggs released from the ovaries from reaching the uterus. By comparison, Essure is a small metallic implant that is placed into a woman’s fallopian tubes. Unlike other sterilization procedures for women, no incision or general anesthesia is required.

How Does Essure Work?

A tool called a hysteroscope is inserted into the vagina and through the cervix. The tool allows the doctor to see inside of the uterus. A thin tube is used to thread the Essure device through the vagina, uterus, and then into the fallopian tube. This procedure is repeated to implant a second device into the other fallopian tube. The procedure causes pain in some women, but it is likely that pain is less than with other forms of permanent sterilization.
Essure implants work by causing scar tissue to form over the implant. The scar tissue permanently blocks the fallopian tube and prevents fertilization of the egg by the sperm.

How Long Does It Take to Work?

Women must use an alternate birth control method for three months after the procedure. This will allow the scar tissue to grow. At the three-month point, the doctor checks to make sure that the device has been properly placed, and that the scar tissue has fully blocked the fallopian tubes. This is done with an injection of dye into the uterus followed by an x-ray. If implantation was successful, alternate contraception can be discontinued. In some cases, implantation is not successful.

Is It Effective?

The Essure device is 99.8% effective in preventing pregnancy. Pregnancies that do occur after sterilization are more likely to be ectopic pregnancies, which occur outside the uterus and can be life-threatening.
Other risks associated with Essure include:
  • Infection
  • Pain or cramping
  • Blockage of the fallopian tube on only one side
  • Damage to the uterus or fallopian tube during the procedure
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Changes in menstrual cycle
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Lightheadedness

Is This the Right Procedure for You?

Essure is not the right procedure if you:
  • Want to become pregnant—Essure is permanent. You will not be able to have a baby.
  • Have been pregnant during the past six weeks
  • Have an active or recent pelvic infection
  • Are allergic to nickel (used in the insert) or contrast dye (used in imaging tests)
  • Have a condition that affects your uterus or fallopian tubes
Talk to your doctor to find out if Essure is a good option for you.

RESOURCES

Planned Parenthood http://www.plannedparenthood.org

US Food and Drug Administration http://www.fda.gov

CANADIAN RESOURCES

The Canadian Women's Health Network http://www.cwhn.ca

The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada http://www.sogc.org

References

Duffy S, Marsh F, Rogerson L, Hudson H, Cooper K, Jack S, et al. Female sterilisation: a cohort controlled comparative study of ESSURE versus laparoscopic sterilisation. BJOG. 2005;112:1522-1528.

Essure System—P020014. US Food and Drug Administration website. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/ProductsandMedicalProcedures/DeviceApprovalsandClearances/Recently-ApprovedDevices/ucm083087.htm. Updated September 5, 2013. Accessed July 29, 2014.

Female Sterilization (Essure). Planned Parenthood website. Available at: http://www.plannedparenthood.org/stlouis/female-sterilization-38378.htm. Accessed July 29, 2014.

Sterilization for women and men. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists website. Available at: http://www.acog.org/~/media/For%20Patients/faq011.pdf?dmc=1&ts=20120818T2151049198. Published August 2011. Accessed July 29, 2014.

When your family is complete, choose Essure. Essure.com website. Available at: http://www.essure.com/documents/whatisessure/pib.pdf. Published 2009. Accessed July 29, 2014.

Revision Information

Health Library Search

Only show results from the selected categories.











Fallopian tubes are tubes that lead from the ovaries to the uterus. A tubal ligation is a sterilization procedure to close the tubes....

2 Contraception: What Are Your Options? lifestyle - sexuality & health

Most people are familiar with "the pill" and condoms, but did you know there are many other options for contraception? Learn about each, as well as the factors that affec...

3 Oral Contraceptives: Risks and Benefits lifestyle - women's health

Birth control pills are a popular and extremely effective form of contraception. Learn about the risks and benefits of taking the pill....

4 Birth Control for Breastfeeding Women lifestyle - women's health

It is a myth that you cannot get pregnant while you are breastfeeding. So what are the safe and effective forms of birth control for breastfeeding women?...

Do not want to take The Pill? Not a fan of condoms and IUDs? Is the vaginal ring right for you?...

7 Learning About Birth Control Pills lifestyle - women's health