Upstate News

July 22, 2003
Doretta Royer 315 464-4833

University Hospital is first in region to offer nonsurgical permanent birth control for women

The first nonsurgical permanent birth control for women is now offered at University Hospital. The sterilization method, approved by the Food and Drug Administration in November 2002, involves a tiny device called Essure and is presently available in Central New York only through SUNY Upstate’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

According to the manufacturer, Conceptus, Essure is a soft, flexible micro-insert designed with the same materials used in heart valve replacements and blood vessel grafts. It is inserted vaginally by a trained gynecologist using a visually guided method called hysteroscopy. A micro-insert is placed in each fallopian tube, where over a period of three months the body and the micro-insert work together to form a biological blockage that permanently prevents sperm from reaching the egg. The Essure method has been tested in several clinical trials in Australia, Europe and the United States in more than 900 women. Data obtained from two of the trials support a 99 percent effectiveness rate.

“Unlike tubal ligation or vasectomy, the Essure procedure requires no incisions,” said Philip Ferro, M.D., professor and director of general obstetrics/gynecology at SUNY Upstate Medical University. “The procedure takes approximately 30 minutes and may be performed in an exam room using local anesthesia and mild sedation.”

“Most women are able to resume normal physical activities the same day they have the procedure and can return to work the day after the procedure is performed,” he said

During the three months it takes for the insert to form the biological blockage, women must use another form of birth control to prevent pregnancy, Ferro noted.

While the Essure method may appeal to and be used by almost any woman, it is a particularly attractive option for obese women for whom a procedure such as laparoscopy or a mini-laparotomy tubal sterilization carries more risk and greater surgical difficulty, Ferro said.

It is also suitable for women whose medical condition or psychological discomfort may be a relative contraindication to general anesthesia.

For more information about the Essure method, contact SUNY Upstate’s Department of Obstetrics/Gynecology at SUNY Upstate at 315-464-5162 or 315-464-2147.

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