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Should I Have My Essure Coils Removed?

If you’re among the women who had Essure® coils implanted in order to prevent pregnancy, you may be aware of the news surrounding the discontinuation of the product. 

Dr. Fernando Otero and our team here at the Women’s Clinic of the Rio Grande Valley have followed this news and adjusted our practice to offer Essure removal for women who experience difficulties. If you’re wondering about whether to have your Essure coils removed, here’s what you should consider.

Why the recall?

At the end of 2018, Bayer, the maker of Essure, voluntarily discontinued manufacture and recalled all remaining products, effectively taking Essure off the market by the end of 2019. The reason behind this move was labeled a marketing one, but it came on the heels of complications that women were experiencing due to the product.

These complications include:

Although the chances are low (about 1%), if a woman becomes pregnant with Essure in place, there’s a risk of ectopic pregnancy, which can be life-threatening.

The decision to remove the Essure coils

We want to first make it clear that the decision to remove your coils is entirely up to you, but we can offer some points to consider.

First, if you’re experiencing any of the symptoms we outline above, you should come see us so we can determine whether your Essure coils play a role. If we find that they do, it may be time to consider removal.

If, however, you aren’t experiencing any side effects, there’s a good case for leaving well enough alone. Again, the majority of women don’t develop any complications, and Essure performs as it’s designed to — preventing pregnancy.

The Essure removal process

Essure removal can be simple or complicated, so it’s very important that you seek the help of an expert in this area. Our own Dr. Otero has successfully performed this surgery many times and has the experience you need.

If you decide that Essure removal is the best solution, there are several ways we approach the removal depending upon the location of the coils and how much scar tissue has developed.

In a best-case scenario, Dr. Otero can remove the coils using a hysteroscope, a thin cannula (tube) that’s equipped with a camera and a light.

If ample scar tissue has formed around the coils, Dr. Otero may have to cut into your fallopian tubes to remove the coils, which is called a salpingostomy. If the involvement between the coils and your fallopian tubes is great, Dr. Otero may recommend a salpingectomy, a procedure in which he removes your fallopian tubes.

Another possibility is a laparoscopic cornual resection in which Dr. Otero removes a portion of the cornua, the area of your uterus where the fallopian tubes connect.

One of the primary reasons why there are different approaches to Essure removal is because there have been problems with removal, as the coils can easily break apart, leading to more serious complications down the road. Dr. Otero understands this challenge and uses the tools and techniques necessary to safely remove your Essure coils.

If you have more questions about whether to remove your Essure coils, please contact one of our two offices in McAllen or Edinburg, Texas, to set up a consultation.

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