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Sterility, minus surgery


4 Star

Sterility, minus surgery

Our Review Summary

In 2002, the FDA approved Essure, a sterilization system in which flexible coils are inserted through the cervix into the fallopian tubes. Once implanted, the coils cause scar tissue to grow, thereby blocking the tubes and causing sterilization. Essure represents a novel approach to female sterilization because it requires no incisions and can be performed under local anesthesia in a doctor's office.

This story does an adequate job of describing the novelty of Essure and mentions the alternatives and potential harms for the reader. The story also quantifies the failure rate of Essure compared to tubal ligation.

However, the story does not adequately comment on the availability of the system, which may be limited by the requirement for special training. The story also does not describe the costs of the procedure or the strength of the available evidence to support its use.


Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?

Not Satisfactory

The story does not mention costs of Essure compared to tubal ligation.

Does the story adequately quantify the benefits of the treatment/test/product/procedure?


The story does quantify the effectiveness of Essure compared to tubal ligation.  But it cites the manufacturer as the source of the information.  Why not turn to the studies?

Does the story adequately explain/quantify the harms of the intervention?


The story does a good job of describing the possible harms of Essure. The story should have pointed out that, because the procedure is new, long-term safety is not known.

Does the story seem to grasp the quality of the evidence?

Not Satisfactory

The story does not describe the strength of the available evidence to claim that Essure is as safe and effective as the older procedures. In fact, it cites the manufacturer as the source of the information on effectiveness.  Why not turn to the studies?  How were they done? What's the quality of the evidence?

Does the story commit disease-mongering?


The story does not appear to engage in disease mongering.

Does the story use independent sources and identify conflicts of interest?


The story does quote an expert who describes the risks and benefits of the procedure fairly well. The story could have quoted another clinician or expert to comment on the roll of Essure in clinical practice.

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?


The story does mention the Pill, the Ring, the Sponge, an IUD and tubal ligation as alternatives to Essure. The story could have provided more content for the reader about the pros and cons of the different approaches.

Does the story establish the availability of the treatment/test/product/procedure?

Not Satisfactory

Although the story mentions that the Essure approach was relatively recently approved (in 2002), it does not comment on how widely it is available, how many providers have the special training required and whether access may be limited as a result.

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?


The story does state that Essure was relatively recently approved (in 2002) and represents a novel approach to sterility.

Does the story appear to rely solely or largely on a news release?

Not Applicable

There is no way to know if the story relied on a press release as the sole source of information.

Total Score: 6 of 9 Satisfactory


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