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Hysteroscopic Sterilization (Essure)

What is the Essure System for Birth Control?

Essure is a type of permanent birth control for women, approved by the FDA in 2002. The Essure system works by placing two flexible, coil-shaped inserts in the fallopian tubes by way of the vagina, so no incision is needed. After insertion, scar tissue forms around the coils to permanently block the fallopian tubes, preventing sperm from reaching the egg.

After allowing three months for the inserts to form a barrier, a specialized X-ray confirms the fallopian tubes are completely blocked. Until this confirmation test, another form of birth control must be used.

Learn more about the Essure system and permanent birth control by calling the specialists in Virginia Mason’s Gynecology Department at (206) 223-6191.

What are the Benefits of the Essure System?

Essure is an effective form of permanent birth control available without surgery. Other benefits include:

  • Easy insertion process that can be completed in the physician’s office
  • No side-effects from hormones
  • Virtually no recovery time required after insertion
  • Coverage by many insurance providers

What Happens During and After the Procedure to Insert Essure?

A thin tube with a camera — called a hysteroscope — is inserted through the vagina and uterus to reach the fallopian tubes. The uterus is filled with fluid to access the openings of both fallopian tubes. The Essure inserts are placed using a small catheter attached to the hysteroscope.

Generally women go home immediately following the procedure and return to their normal activities the same day. Short-term side effects may include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Bleeding or spotting
  • Cramping
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness

What are the Risks or Considerations with Essure?

Essure is proven 99.8 percent effective in preventing pregnancy. However, in the extremely rare event pregnancy occurs, there’s a higher chance of an ectopic pregnancy, or one that occurs outside the uterus, usually in a fallopian tube. Other risks include:

  • Infection
  • Displacement of an insert
  • Incomplete tubal blockage or blockage only on one side
  • Future inability to have certain pelvic procedures such as endometrial ablation

The Essure system may not be appropriate for women who:

  • Had a recent pelvic infection
  • Are unsure if they want to become pregnant in the future
  • Recently gave birth or underwent an abortion
  • Previously had a tubal ligation