It’s important women considering permanent birth control discuss all options with their gynecologist and carefully weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each. Both Essure and tubal ligation are meant to be irreversible.
Tubal ligation is usually performed as a laparoscopic procedure and requires general or regional anesthesia. Tubal ligation can be done as an outpatient procedure or immediately after vaginal or C-section delivery.
During tubal ligation the abdomen is inflated with air and a small incision is made for the insertion of the laparoscope. The fallopian tubes are then cut and tied, sealed with bands or clips, or cauterized with electric current, permanently preventing sperm from reaching the egg for fertilization.
The procedure is immediately effective but patients may experience incision pain, gas, bloating or fatigue following laparoscopic tubal ligation.
Although sterilization procedures are meant to be permanent, there is a small failure rate regardless the technique used.
Essure is a tiny coil-shaped implant that is inserted into the fallopian tubes using an instrument called a hysteroscope. Using local anesthesia to numb the cervix, the hysteroscope is inserted through the vagina and cervix and the flexible coils are inserted into the fallopian tubes.
Since the tubes won’t become fully blocked immediately, you will need to temporarily use another form of birth control. After 3 months, your gynecologist will do an x-ray (hysterosalpingogram) to confirm the coils are in place and the tubes are fully blocked so you can discontinue the secondary birth control. Essure should not be done immediately after childbirth.
Essure can be performed in your gynecologist’s office or as an outpatient procedure and most patients return to their normal activities the same day. The procedure does not require general anesthesia or an incision.