The Dangers of Essure Removal
Essure is marketed as the only permanent birth control device that doesn’t require a surgery. But while implanting the device may be a short procedure that can be performed in the doctor’s office, women who decide to undergo Essure removal have discovered that the process – and the dangers- are not quite so simple.
A recent article in Modern Healthcare details the struggle of Angie, an Essure patient who began experiencing complications from the device, including heavy bleeding and back pain. She would later discover that one of the coils dropped into her uterus, while the other had become partially expelled from her fallopian tube. Perhaps even more frightening, a pelvic x-ray revealed that foreign bodies from the device were scattered throughout her abdomen.
Angie’s story is far from an isolated incident. From 2002 – 2015, the FDA received over 9,000 complaints about the device ranging from headaches and fatigue to pregnancy loss and death. This led to the FDA requiring a black box warning on all Essure devices.
This warning may serve to alert new patients to the potential risks the device poses, but it does little for those already implanted with Essure. With over 750,000 devices in use worldwide, women who have experienced Essure complications have few options to alleviate their suffering.
Groups like Essure Problems have popped up on social media, providing support and information to those who have been harmed by the device. Unfortunately, for many of the women who are affected, there is no simple solution to their suffering. The group has collected a list containing a handful of doctors (approximately 30 according to the article) who can be vouched for on the basis of a complete and successful removal.
Essure removal has proven to be a difficult and delicate process, with one doctor comparing it to grabbing a Slinky and pulling while it’s attached to cement. The coils can be easily fractured during a removal attempt, causing fragments to scatter throughout the surrounding organs. Finding a doctor who is not only familiar with Essure, but is also capable of performing the difficult extraction, may be extremely challenging.
But what alternatives are there for women who are unable to find a specialist to extract the device? Very few.
A total hysterectomy – where the entire uterus and cervix are removed – or other equally invasive procedures are the option many women are faced with. These procedures are expensive, require extensive recovery time, and can be life-threatening.
The difficulty of Essure removal only adds to the growing list of reasons why the manufacturer should be held accountable.
Disclaimer: This article has been prepared for general information purposes and does not constitute medical or legal advice, nor does it imply an attorney-client relationship or contract with Wexler Wallace.