Essure Procedure Questions and Answers

Trista Sutter from T.V.'s The  Bachelorette explains her experience with the Essure Procedure.

How the Essure procedure works

Is it effective?

The Essure procedure is 99.80% effective based on 4 years of follow-up.


How do women rate the procedure?

In clinical testing involving about 700 women, almost all women rated their comfort with the Essure procedure as "good" to "excellent" within one week. After the first week, almost all women rated their satisfaction with the Essure procedure as "good" to "excellent."


What are the micro-inserts made of?

The micro-inserts are made from polyester fibers and metals (nickel-titanium and stainless steel). These materials have been studied and used in the heart and other areas of the human body (e.g., heart valve replacements, blood vessel grafts, and abdominal repair) for many years.

Is it reversible?

The procedure is permanent and cannot be reversed. It is only meant to be used by women who are sure they do not want any more children.

Reversal may require surgery and there are no data on the safety and effectiveness
of reversal.


How long does the procedure take?

In clinical testing, the average time to place a micro-insert into both fallopian tubes was about 15 minutes and the total procedure time was about 35 minutes. Because an Essure procedure is performed without incisions or general anesthesia, most women were able to leave the facility within 45 minutes after the procedure.


When does it start working?

During the first 3 months following the procedure, your body and the micro-inserts work together to form a tissue barrier that prevents sperm from reaching the egg. You will need to use another form of birth control during this time. After 3 months, your doctor will perform a special type of x-ray test called an HSG to confirm that your tubes are completely blocked and you can rely on the Essure micro-inserts for birth control.


How long before I can resume regular physical activities?

In the Essure Pivotal Trial, women were typically able to leave the facility within 45 minutes after the procedure and almost all working women resumed work in 24 hours or less after the day of the procedure. The majority of women returned to normal activities within 1 to 2 days, but many women reported that they were able to resume normal physical activities the same day as the procedure.


Following the Essure procedure


What happens to my eggs?

After an Essure procedure your ovaries will continue to produce eggs, which will be absorbed by your body.


Will my periods change after the Essure procedure?

Some women in the clinical studies reported temporary changes in their periods; however, very few women reported permanent changes. These temporary/permanent changes included the following:

Periods that were lighter or heavier than normal
Periods that were shorter or longer than normal
Spotting or bleeding between periods
Talk with your physicians about any menstrual changes you may experience as a result of change in contraceptive methods or hormonal age related changes that naturally occur.


Does it result in menopause?

No. The Essure micro-inserts do not cause menopause.


Comparing sterilization methods

How is the Essure procedure different from having your tubes tied?

Usually performed under general anesthesia, a laparoscopic tubal ligation is typically performed in an operating room. Gas is used to expand the abdomen so the doctor can reach the organs easily. The doctor then cuts into the abdomen so the surgical tools can be inserted to perform the procedure. The fallopian tubes are blocked by clamping with metal clips or plastic rings, cutting away a section of the tube, or burning a portion of the tube.

  • Cauterization - uses electrical current to burn and block each fallopian tube
  • A ring or band - a section of each fallopian tube is folded together and that section is tied or bound with a ring or band. The rings or bands remain inside the body
  • A clip/clamp - crushes the tube together so the sperm can not pass through the fallopian tube. The clips/clamps remain inside the body
  • Ligation - a portion of each tube is tied or bound in two places and the section in between is cut away and removed

The procedure is complete when the opening cuts are closed with stitches or metal staples.

After returning home, women typically take 4-6 days [2] before they can resume regular activities. According to the American College of Obstetrics & Gynecology, after returning home, women may have the following symptoms for a few days:

  • Cramps (like menstrual cramps)
  • Discharge (like menstrual flow)
  • Mild nausea or vomiting associated with the general anesthesia or the procedure
  • Sharp pains in the neck or shoulder (caused by the gas)
  • Pain in the incision
  • A sore scratchy throat if a breathing tube was used
  • Feeling tired and achy
  • Bloated abdomen
  • Bruising around the incision

The Essure procedure differs from a tubal ligation because it does not involve incisions and can be performed without general anesthesia in a doctor's office. Recovery time at home is typically 1 to 2 days, though it is not unusual for a woman to return to regular activities the very same day. Recovery may include the following symptoms:

  • Cramps (like menstrual cramps)
  • Discharge (like a light menstrual flow or spotting)
  • Mild nausea or vomiting (related to anesthesia)
  • Fainting or light-headedness following the procedure (related to anesthesia)
  • What are the risks and complications associated with a tubal ligation?
  • Because incisions are made in the abdomen and the laparoscope is inserted blindly into the abdomen, complications may include:
  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Damage to blood vessels, nerves, or muscles
  • Damage to the bladder, ureters, or bowel, requiring surgical repair
  • Blood clots
  • Failure of the procedure resulting in pregnancy

What are the key risks and complications associated with general anesthesia?

Following general anesthesia, some people may experience the following:

  • Negative reaction to the medication
  • Feeling sick to your stomach
  • Slowness of the anesthesia to wear off
  • A sore throat if a tube is used during the general anesthesia
  • Seizure or heart attack
  • High temperature
  • Confusion


Is Essure also an alternative to vasectomy for a couple?

Yes. Vasectomy is a surgical operation with associated risks. A vasectomy requires that the man's scrotum is cut or punctured, the vas deferens cut, and the ends of the vas deferens are either burned or clipped closed.

A vasectomy takes about 15 to 30 minutes, and recovery is usually about 2 days. The man may also need to apply ice packs to the scrotum and wear an athletic supporter for several days to prevent swelling and bruising. The couple must use an alternative form of birth control, typically for 3 months or until a sperm count test demonstrates that the vasectomy was successful.

A 6 month sperm test is recommended.

What are some key risks and complications associated with vasectomy?
Vasectomy is 99.85% effective after one year of follow-up. No method of birth control is 100% effective and there is a small chance of pregnancy, even many years following the procedure.

Complications may include the following:

  • Bruising on the scrotum
  • Infection of the incision/puncture in the scrotum
  • Painful testicles (epididymitis)
  • Sperm may leak into the surrounding tissue forming small lumps (granuloma) in the scrotum
  • What are some key risks and complications associated with the Essure procedure?
  • Some of the key risks and complications of the Essure procedure are the following:
  • Failure to place 1 or both devices in the correct location
  • Failure to obtain tubal occlusion by 3 months after the procedure
  • Cramps (like menstrual cramps)
  • Temporary pain and/or discharge (like a light menstrual flow or spotting)
  • Mild nausea or vomiting (related to anesthesia)
  • Fainting or light-headedness following the procedure (related to anesthesia)

Is Essure right for me?

The Essure procedure should be the first sterilization consideration for all women.


Key considerations of the Essure procedure are the following:

The Essure procedure is permanent and not reversible
Like all methods of birth control, the Essure procedure should not be considered 100% effective
As with a vasectomy (for a man) you must use another form of birth control for at least three months after the procedure until a follow-up test (HSG) confirms the micro-inserts are correctly placed and your tubes are blocked