A new form of birth control that does not involve medication or surgery is being offered by Women’s Services at King’s Daughters Medical Center (KDMC).
The outpatient procedure, Essure, differs from the traditional method of surgical tubal ligation that women are accustomed to. With this new procedure, there is no cutting or burning. Instead, springlike coils, called micro-inserts, are inserted by the physician through the cervix and uterus and into the fallopian tubes. The insert is threaded through a catheter, and with the assistance of a camera is placed at the beginning of the fallopian tubes.
“It works like a heart cath,” said KDMC obstetrician/gynecologist Brian Frederick, M.D. “The insert is made of the same material as the heart cath, but it has the opposite effect – closing something instead of opening it.”
Since it doesn’t involve cutting, the recovery time from the procedure is quicker and less painful when compared to tubal ligations and vasectomies. Instead of the four to six days recovery needed for tubal ligations and the two to three days recovery for vasectomies, most women are back to normal within 24 hours, Dr. Frederick said.
During the first three months after the procedure women are encouraged to use another form of birth control while a tissue barrier forms around the micro-inserts, creating a blockage.
After three months, your physician performs a confirmation test – an X-ray to confirm that the fallopian tubes are completely blocked and that you can rely on the micro-inserts for birth control. Although the Essure procedure isn’t guaranteed to be 100 percent effective, this is the first FDA-approved permanent birth control procedure to have zero pregnancies in five years of clinical trials, Dr. Frederick said.
“Keep in mind, this is a permanent sterilization procedure and is not reversible,” Dr. Frederick said. “Most importantly, it is much safer. I would recommend this procedure for my family members,” he said.
Data from the National Center for Health Statistics shows that of women aged 15-44 years, 19 percent use oral contraceptives, 17 percent use female sterilization, and 6 percent rely on male sterilization.
Dr. Frederick is a medical school graduate of the University of Kentucky, also completing a residency there. He is board certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. His office staff can be reached at 606.325.6888.
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