Last updated: Apr 30, 2008
essure-sterilize-birth-control
Essure has an easier recovery than traditional tubal ligation.
(ESSURE)
For many people, the scariest thing about sterilization is that scalpel. Men especially don't want sharp knives anywhere near their penises—understandably. Enter the no-scalpel vasectomy. OK, it still involves a sharp object, but it's more of a pinprick than a cut. There's little bleeding, no stitches, and less scar tissue than in traditional vasectomies.


For women, there's a similarly knife-free tube-tying procedure called Essure. The doctor goes in through the cervix and places tiny metal coils inside the fallopian tubes. Scar tissue builds up around the coils in about three months—so the egg simply can't get through.

Concerns about Essure
Unlike traditional tubal ligation, the Essure procedure can be done in your doctor's office on an outpatient basis and does not require general anesthesia—so it has an easier recovery and can be a little cheaper.

More about birth control for men
But Essure is technically more complicated than conventional tubal ligations, says Lee Shulman, MD, a professor at Northwestern University who sits on the board of directors of the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals. Reaching the tubes properly can depend on such factors as the size of the uterus or the presence of fibroids, and some complications may not be apparent before going in.

Dr. Shulman also recommends scheduling the procedure with a doctor who has experience with Essure. "It requires more training than a tubal ligation," he says.