RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — A Raleigh doctor is offering a solution to women struggling with a controversial form of birth control. Earlier this month, we introduced you to women who say they experienced painful symptoms after using Essure. Both resorted to hysterectomies to remove the device, but there are other options.
About 5 years, after Katrina Jones had the permanent birth control, Essure, implanted, she had the device removed.
Previous story: FDA investigates permanent birth control Essure after receiving thousands of complaints
“I feel better today than I have in a long time,” she said.
Essure consists of two coils placed into the fallopian tubes, during a non-surgical procedure in a doctor’s office. Once the coils are in the body, scar tissue forms around them and blocks the tubes. The goal is to permanently prevent pregnancy.
Katrina had hers implanted in 2011, but over the next several years, she says she experienced abdominal and back pain and gynecological issues.
“Right here in my left side it felt like a knife,” she explained.
Thousands of women complained to the FDA after experiencing symptoms they believe are related to Essure. Earlier this year, we spoke to two local women who both decided hysterectomies were the best option for them to remove Essure.
Jones, said she wanted the device out, but wanted to keep her tubes and uterus intact, so she turned to Dr. Charles Monteith. He runs A Personal Choice in Raleigh.
“They come to us because we can take the devices out without requiring a hysterectomy,” said Monteith.
Dr. Monteith says the surgery to remove Essure takes about 80 minutes and is done under general anesthesia.
He showed us pictures from a surgery. “Here’s the uterus, here’s the Essure device that’s in the tube,” he said. “We make an incision and follow the device into the uterine cavity…Once we get to the very tip of the device, we then dissect out the device and all the surrounding tissue.”
He added, “In our experience it has been safe. We’ve done over 300. We have not had any major complications.
He says requests to remove Essure have increased over the past couple of years.
“The device seems to be safe in most women, but not for all,” said Monteith.
Bayer, the maker of Essure, stands by its product. According to Essure’s website about 750,000 of the devices have been sold worldwide, and in a video statement posted on YouTube in February, Bayer acknowledges some women who use the device have experienced issues, though the maker does not recognize any causal link between Essure and those problems.
Dr. Monteith says he performs Essure removals, both for women experiencing symptoms and for those who decide they want to try to get pregnant. The procedure costs $7,500 and is not covered by insurance at his office.