Uncoiling the Truth…
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Carlsbad, Calif., April 10, 2015 — Patients unhappy with contraceptive coils are sometimes told that hysterectomy, the surgical removal of a female’s reproductive organs, is their only option to remove these implants. This may not necessarily be the case. For many patients, combined laparoscopy and hysteroscopy can be effective at removing the coils without exposing patients to the risks of abdominal surgery.
Essure® is a method of permanent birth control that does not require any incision or anesthesia. Known as the “office tubal,” the Essure® procedure involves placing two metal coils inside the fallopian tubes and can be done in a ten-minute procedure right at the doctor’s office. While the implants are not immediately effective, over the next three months scar tissue develops around the implants and blocks the tubal opening, thus preventing sperm from reaching the egg.
Approved by the U.S. Federal Drug Administration (FDA) in 2002, Essure® has received its share of patient complaints since then. Women have reported a variety of post-implant symptoms, including pelvic pain, abnormal bleeding, joint pain, painful intercourse, skin changes, hair loss and depression. Further, there have been patient deaths after the Essure® procedure, as well as a higher than expected number of pregnancies reported against the birth control device.
“I have suffered a lot since I had the Essure® procedure three years ago,” said Brandi Reynolds, 40, of Salinas, Calif. “My body has basically been in turmoil ever since, and now I just want them removed. I feel like I’m no longer living, only existing, and that my quality of life is absolutely miserable.”
Reynolds isn’t alone in having health concerns about Essure® coils. There are now more than 4,000 adverse event reports on file with the FDA regarding Essure®, and many more women have taken to social media to vent their frustration with the device. One Facebook site, Essure® Problems, now has more than 16,000 members, while a Twitter account by the same name has over 1,200 followers.
Worse yet, many dissatisfied Essure® patients seem to be under the impression that hysterectomy is the only way to remove the unwanted coils. “After discussing this issue with several patients, I was surprised to learn how many women believe that hysterectomy is their only option,” said Dr. E. Scott Sills of Carlsbad, Calif. “I have successfully removed a number of these devices using a combination of laparoscopy and hysteroscopy. Compared to hysterectomy, this is a much less drastic operation,” Sills added.
Removing the contraceptive coils via laparoscopy and hysteroscopy takes out the tubal tissue exposed to the coils, but leaves other structures intact. The operation takes about 90 minutes, and the only belly “incision” consists of three tiny dots. According to Dr. Sills, patients report a rapid decline in their contraceptive-coil associated symptoms usually within seven to ten days after the coils are removed.
A 2013 publication by Brown University backs up Dr. Sills’ assertion that contraceptive coils can be safely removed using minimally invasive surgery.
“For selected patients, the hysterectomy option might be best,” Sills acknowledged. “However, it is by no means the only answer. For most patients, the risks of hysterectomy are unnecessary to achieve the goal of simply removing the Essure® devices.”
About Dr. Sills
Scott Sills, M.D. Ph.D. serves as medical director at the Center for Advanced Genetics in Carlsbad, Calif. He is a Tennessee native and has practiced reproductive medicine in both Europe and the United States. Dr. Sills has authored more than 100 peer-reviewed journal articles and has collaborated on the discovery of three previously unknown human gene mutations. Last year, he was senior author on the first medical paper describing successful coil removal without hysterectomy. In addition to journal articles, Dr. Sills has published and edited several books including “Fighting at the Fertility Front – A Navigational Guide to Infertility for U.S. Military, Veterans and Their Partners.” A Vanderbilt graduate, Dr. Sills obtained his medical degree from the University of Tennessee and received his fellowship training in reproductive medicine at Cornell’s Weil Medical College in Manhattan. He was awarded a Ph.D. in molecular biology from London’s University of Westminster. Dr. Sills has been in IVF practice for almost 20 years.