Women who don't want any more children now have the option of sterilization without surgery. The FDA-approved device is implanted in a doctor's office without having to undergo general anesthesia.
About 700,000 women in the United States undergo "tubals" or tubal ligation each year, making it the most common method of birth control in this country. Yet unlike the pill, there are no hormones in the Essure procedure and it involves less than one-third of the recovery time from surgery.
Even before Kara Spieler had given birth to her son, Cole, 11 weeks ago, she and her husband already knew that the third time was the charm.
Spieler says, "Well, we have three kids and we knew we didn't want anymore, so why hassle with other types of birth control."
But the options for a permanent form of birth control weren't too enticing.
Spieler says, "We looked into the tubal and the vasectomy, and both of them required going under general anesthesia, as far as we knew, and it seemed a little bit more complicated."
Which is why the simplicity of a little spring, actually two of them inserted inside the fallopian tubes, was so appealing.
Dr. Jeanne Hassebroek-Johnson, Sanford Women's Health says, "It basically acts as an inflammatory stimulant so that you have a little coil which is just kind of like a framework and then your body tissue grows into the coil so that your own tissue blocks the tube."
Spieler says, "After looking at it, researching it, looking at it on the web, this seemed to be the best route."
Placing the device doesn't require general anesthesia or scalpels, and the woman is in and out of her doctor's office in under an hour.
Hassebroek-Johnson says, "This is considered to be 100-percent permanent."
Spieler adds, "The procedure itself actually took 20 minutes, it went very simple and I didn't have any cramping or pain."
There is a slight waiting period, however, until the procedure is fully effective.
Spieler says, "About three months, 12 weeks is what they're saying, you have to go have a test to make sure everything is blocked and then we'll know for sure it's taken, you could say."
There is one caveat with Essure, however, it hasn't been tested in a large number of women and it hasn't been available that long, so there may some things doctors don't know about the procedure.
The Essure procedure costs around $6,200. That's less than the cost of a tubal ligation. Since placement is done in a doctor's office, it is often covered by insurance. Spieler's insurance, for example, paid 100 percent of the cost.
© 2007 KELOLAND TV. All Rights Reserved.