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Notes on Women's Health
Notes on Women's Health

Category: Permanent Birth Control

[Update] Essure Permanent Birth Control: Questions and Answers

Essure Permanent Birth ControlThis blog has been updated to reflect the most recent FDA findings and changes in our practice in regard to the Essure procedure.

The Essure procedure is a permanent birth control method developed by an American company called Conceptus. Essure is their main product. During the procedure, tiny flexible coils made out of polyester fibers, nickel-titanium and stainless steel are passed by a small tube called a catheter from the vagina through the cervix and uterus and into the Fallopian tubes (Fallopian tubes are two very thin tubes that lead from the ovaries into the uterus). Once in place, the Essure coils cause tissue growth (scarring), which seals a portion of the Fallopian tubes. This tissue barrier prevents sperm from reaching the ovaries. Essure was the only permanent birth control device made for women that did not require a surgical incision.

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The End of Essure as a Permanent Birth Control Option: What You Need to Know

Patient speaking with doctor about birth control and EssureA look back at Essure

It’s been almost 16 years since the Food and Drug Administration approved Essure in late 2002. Back then, Essure was created as an alternative to tubal ligation, a surgical procedure in which a woman’s “tubes are tied” — or, more accurately, clamped and sealed, resulting in sterilization and permanent birth control.

How does Essure work?

Essure implants consist of two tiny, implantable metal coils that are inserted into the fallopian tubes — a pair of tubes along which eggs travel from the ovaries to the uterus. Once inside the fallopian tubes, Essure implants cause scar tissue to gradually form, eventually blocking the tubes and preventing fertilization of a woman’s eggs. While tubal ligation is considered major surgery that requires local, general or spinal anesthesia, Essure involves a simpler procedure that can be done in a doctor’s office, with less anesthesia required.

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