Megan Freedman

What is Essure?

Essure provides permanent birth control for women. Essure involves inserting a small coil, called a micro-insert, into both fallopian tubes. The body forms scar tissue over the micro-inserts. This permanently blocks the fallopian tubes so a man’s sperm cannot reach a woman’s egg and fertilize it to begin a pregnancy.

The fallopian tubes are located in the lower abdominal (pelvic) area. They connect the ovaries to the uterus and provide a passage for sperm to move to a woman’s egg and for a fertilized egg to move into the uterus. 

Looking for a Doctor?

Find a 5-Star Ob/Gyn Near You

The Essure procedure is generally considered safe, but it does have risks and potential complications. They are many other birth control methods, each with its own risks and level of effectiveness. Discuss all of your birth control options with your doctor or healthcare provider to understand which option is right for you.  

Why is Essure used?

Your doctor may recommend Essure if you want area woman who wants permanent sterilization and life-long birth control. You should only consider Essure if you are sure you are finished having children or know you don’t want to have children. 

The Essure procedure is an alternative to more invasive permanent birth control procedures, such as a vasectomy for men or a tubal ligation for women. It is also an alternative for temporary types of birth control, such as condoms and the birth control pill and patch.  

Who performs the Essure procedure?

An obstetrician-gynecologist (Ob/Gyn) performs the Essure procedure. An obstetrician-gynecologist is a doctor who specializes in the medical and surgical treatment of conditions of the female reproductive system.

How is the Essure procedure performed?

Your Essure procedure will be performed in an office or clinic. It does not involve incisions or cutting. 

Essure is a type of hysteroscopic or transcervical sterilization that involves inserting a hysteroscope through the vagina and cervix into the uterus. A hysteroscope is a thin, lighted instrument that contains a small camera and special instruments. The camera transmits pictures of the inside of your body to a video screen viewed by your doctor while performing the procedure. 

The Essure procedure generally includes these steps:

  1. You remove your clothing and dress in a gown. Your care tem will provide blankets for modesty and warmth.

  2. You are positioned on a procedure table.

  3. Your doctor inserts a speculum in your vagina to widen its opening.

  4. Your doctor injects anesthetic medication around certain nerves in your cervix (opening to the uterus). This will numb the area. You may also have a sedative medication to relax you and help you stay comfortable. You will be awake, but kept as comfortable as possible during the Essure procedure.

  5. Your doctor inserts the hysteroscope into your vagina, through your cervix, and into your uterus.

  6. Your doctor uses the hysteroscope to insert surgical fluid (a salt-water solution) into your uterus to gain a clear view of your fallopian tubes.

  7. A thin tube attached to the end of the hysteroscope is passed into your fallopian tubes. The surgical tube holds and places the Essure micro-insert.

  8. The hysteroscope is withdrawn from your first fallopian tube and inserted into your other fallopian tube.

  9. Your doctor places the second micro-insert.

  10. The hysteroscope is withdrawn out of your body through your cervix and vagina.

Will I feel pain?

Your comfort and relaxation is important to you and your care team. You may have menstrual-like cramps or discomfort in your lower back or pelvis during the Essure procedure. Take a few long, deep breaths to help yourself relax. Tell your doctor if any discomfort does not pass quickly.

What are the risks and potential complications of Essure?

Complications after an Essure procedure are uncommon, but any procedure involves risks and the possibility of complications that may become serious in some cases. Complications can occur during the procedure or recovery. 

Risks and potential complications of Essure include:

  • Electrolyte imbalance (too much or too little salts in your body) caused by the salt solution that is inserted into your uterus during the Essure procedure

  • Incomplete blockage of the fallopian tubes even after the Essure micro-inserts have been in place for three months

  • Increased risk of a future ectopic pregnancy (a pregnancy occurring outside your uterus)

  • Movement of one or both of micro-inserts out of your fallopian tubes

  • Perforation or puncture of your uterus

  • Vaginal bleeding during or for a few days after Essure placement

Some women should not have Essure due to increased risks. This includes women with the following conditions:

  • Allergy to nickel or the type of dye used in an Essure confirmation test

  • Current or recent infection of the uterus

  • Desire to bear a child in the future

  • Having only one fallopian tube available for the micro-insert

  • A previous tubal ligation

  • Pregnancy or recent pregnancy

Reducing your risk of complications

You can reduce the risk of some complications by following