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What You Need to Know About Essure® Removal

In the past, many women who wanted permanent sterilization without a hysterectomy or tubal ligation chose Essure as a convenient, non-surgical option. The procedure included the insertion of a 1-inch long coil into each fallopian tube via the vagina. Sterilization would result as scar tissue formed around each coil, creating a natural barrier to sperm traveling to the eggs in the fallopian tubes.

However, after several years of patient complaints, Essure’s manufacturer (Bayer) stopped selling the device on December 31, 2018. Unfortunately, today it remains an important medical concern. Affected patients report ongoing symptoms, ranging from pain and discomfort to perforations in the uterus and fallopian tubes.

If you’re one of the 750,000 women who had Essure devices implanted, you may also be experiencing some of these long-term adverse effects and wondering about your next step.

Removing Essure is more complicated than insertion and is best performed by an experienced surgeon. Richard Farnam, MD, one of the nation’s first board certified specialists in urogynecology, helps women remove Essure and return to good health. Dr. Farnam has extensive experience in Essure removal at his practice at Texas Urogynecology & Laser Surgery Center in El Paso, Texas.

Is Essure removal right for me?

Most patients who have Essure removal are looking for relief from a wide range of symptoms that cause pain and interfere with daily activities. Essure removal may be right for you if you have any of the following symptoms associated with the devices:

  • Acute or chronic pelvic pain and/or cramping
  • Heavy and/or irregular periods
  • Vaginal bleeding between periods
  • Vomiting and/or nausea
  • Feeling dizzy and/or fainting
  • Headaches  
  • Painful intercourse

You may also want to consider removing Essure if you’re concerned about some of the following long-term complications that can develop as the devices remain implanted:

  • Ectopic pregnancies (pregnancies that occur outside the uterus)
  • Device repositioning to your pelvis or lower abdomen
  • Increased pain related to gynecological conditions such as endometriosis
  • Increased pain from non-gynecological conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome
  • Allergic reaction to the device
  • Tear in the uterus or fallopian tube

What can I expect from Essure removal?

While it’s likely that your Essure coils were inserted with just a short procedure while you were awake, extracting them is more complicated. Removing Essure requires surgical precision to make sure the embedded devices are safely freed without damaging the surrounding areas.

However, in most cases, Dr. Farnam can remove Essure in about an hour — with minimal incisions and little post-op pain. He accomplishes this by using a surgical robot.

The robot consists of a laparoscope, which is a long thin tube, with a light and video camera on the end. He manipulates the robot to locate and extract the Essure devices through small surgical cuts in your abdomen. He can also use the robot to perform tubal ligation afterward if you still desire permanent sterilization.

What are typical outcomes of Essure removal?

While it’s impossible to guarantee results, many women who undergo Essure removal for relief of pain say they feel better after the procedure. In fact, one study of 52 women who had Essure removal revealed that 75% reported total or near-total improvement in their quality of life, while 87% said their Essure-related problems got better to some degree.

In some cases, sterilization can be reversed after Essure removal. If you desire this, Dr. Farnam can review your options based on your medical history and condition.

If you’re experiencing adverse symptoms associated with Essure, find out if removal is the best choice for you. Call our office or schedule an appointment online to discuss your condition with Dr. Farnam, in either an office visit or convenient telephone consultation.