Essure is an implant used for female sterilisation. Like many other implants, such as hip implants and stents, this implant is made of metal. It is normal for such implants to release metal particles. Essure is a small implant. It is therefore unlikely that Essure sterilisation coils release metals that will lead to health problems. RIVM has come to this conclusion based on a literature review and interviews with experts.

Insertion of the Essure implant involves the placement of small metal coils in the fallopian tubes to induce their closure. The resulting sterilisation is permanent. Some women with Essure implants have reported health complaints, such as pain, fatigue, heavy bleeding and memory loss. Since July 2017, Essure sterilisation coils have not been available for sale in the Netherlands. It is estimated that around 26,000 women in the Netherlands still have Essure sterilisation coils implanted.

Better scientific research needed

RIVM reviewed the available scientific literature in addition to having interviews with experts. The few literature sources do not indicate that metals released from Essure are harmful to health. Proper scientific literature is not available for all metals present in Essure. Larger studies with robust study designs are needed to rule out a connection between metals from Essure and health complaints with more certainty.

No reason to modify treatment approach

Some women experience health complaints in such a serious way that a gynaecologist removes the implants. The RIVM investigation also shows that the various approaches of removing Essure are equally effective at reducing or eliminating health complaints. Therefore, according to the experts, there is no reason to modify the current treatment approach in the Netherlands. A minimally invasive surgery procedure to remove Essure is preferred in the Netherlands. This involves the removal of  only both fallopian tubes with the Essure implants.

The true cause of the health complaints experienced by women with Essure implants remains unknown. A number of investigations that are currently in progress worldwide may yield further insight into this.

This investigation was commissioned by the Health and Youth Care Inspectorate.

Report health problems to MEBI

If you experience health problems and you believe that your implant may be causing them, you should make a report to the Dutch Reporting Centre for Adverse Effects of Medical Implants (MEBI). When many or unusual health problems are reported, MEBI will be able to detect a possible relationship between implants and health problems at an early stage.