Essure was the first transcervical birth control device for women, and it debuted in 2002, following FDA approval. It was developed as a permanent form of birth control, the only other one being tubal ligation, a surgery that involves tying, cutting, or blocking the fallopian tubes to prevent sperm from reaching an egg.
Tubal ligation requires surgery, and the recovery period lasts several weeks and is accompanied by discomfort and bleeding. Essure was an appealing alternative because insertion takes only 10 minutes.
It seemed like a long-awaited, ideal sterilization solution for women, but problems ensued, and many women requested Essure removal.
Dr. Peter Khamvongsa has extensive experience performing Essure removal, and his skill and understanding nature allow you to have the procedure with the least amount of discomfort and enjoy a quick, safe recovery.
How does Essure work?
Essure is a small, flexible device with an inner coil made from stainless steel and an outer coil crafted from a mixture of nickel and titanium. It also has an exterior layer of fibers made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET), a strong but lightweight plastic.
Essure is inserted by a woman’s gynecologist hysteroscopically (via a thin tube with a light on the end of it so the clinician can determine correct placement), and the microinserts are placed into each fallopian tube.
Over the course of about three months, the PET fibers cause fibrosis to occur around each device. Fibrosis is a process where connective tissue develops in response to injury, and in this case, it serves to block the fallopian tubes permanently.
Women with Essure were checked by their gynecologists several months after its insertion to see if the fallopian tubes were successfully obstructed.
Serious complications associated with Essure
Unfortunately, many women who opted for Essure experienced uncomfortable and alarming side effects, including:
- Stomach cramping
- Pelvic pain
- Severe bloating
- Metallic taste in the mouth
- Hair loss
- Excessive fatigue
- Vaginal spotting and bleeding
Other especially worrisome side effects were anaphylactic shock (a life-threatening allergic reaction) and even perforation of the uterus, which can provoke a systemic inflammatory reaction.
Sometimes injury would be caused by flawed placement that included fallopian tube rupture, or the device would become displaced and travel through the uterus to other organs.
Six years ago, the FDA Obstetrics and Gynecology Device Panel urged Essure removal for improperly placed microinserts, and the FDA followed up in 2016 by requesting that Bayer, the manufacturer of Essure, further investigate the device’s benefits and dangers.
In 2019, Essure was discontinued, and Bayer voluntarily removed it from the market.
Safe methods for removing Essure
Due to the problematic history of Essure, many women have requested that their devices be removed. Dr. Khamvongsa uses three methods to do this: laparoscopic extraction, open laparotomy, and hysteroscopic removal.
Dr. Khamvongsa is an expert at minimally invasive laparoscopic robotic surgery, which causes less pain and scarring and requires less recovery time than traditional open surgery. He assesses your situation carefully to determine whether that’s the ideal choice depending on the complications caused by Essure, how long ago you had it inserted, and other factors.
Hysteroscopic Essure removal can be done with no incisions. Dr. Khamvongsa looks at your cervix through a small camera designed for the procedure to see whether he can simply remove the device that way.
Open laparotomy is a traditional surgical abdominal procedure, and Dr. Khamvongsa can also remove Essure by performing a hysterectomy.
If you’re suffering because of Essure side effects, contact our office at 786-220-8664 to schedule a consultation or request an appointment online.