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Birth Control Permanent Methods (cont.)

Female Sterilization, Implants

The Essure system involves a small metallic implant that is placed into the Fallopian tubes of women who wish to be permanently sterilized.

During the implantation procedure, the doctor inserts one of the devices into each of the two Fallopian tubes. This is done with a special catheter (tube) that is inserted through the vagina into the uterus, and then into the Fallopian tube. General anesthesia is not required, and the procedure can be performed in the doctor's office. The device works by making scar tissue form over the implant, blocking the Fallopian tube and preventing fertilization of the egg by the sperm. A similar system uses a silicone implant known as the Adiana system.

During the first three months, women cannot rely on the implants and must use alternate birth control. At the three-month point, women must undergo a final X-ray procedure in which dye is placed in the uterus and an X-ray is taken to confirm proper device placement. Once placement is confirmed, you do not need another form of birth control.

The Essure device has a reported effectiveness of 99.8%. Potential disadvantages of the system include the fact that not all women will achieve successful placement of both inserts. Side effects during or immediately following the procedure may include mild-to-moderate cramping, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, light-headedness, bleeding and/or spotting.

The procedure cannot be reversed. This is a permanent form of birth control. Sometimes doctors have difficulty placing the implants. There is risk of ectopic pregnancy, a life-threatening condition that requires emergency medical care. Implants, like surgical sterilization do not protect against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/4/2014
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