Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Removal of intrauterine contraception with non-visible threads: a case series
  1. Elizabeth Ann Stephens
  1. Correspondence to Dr Elizabeth Ann Stephens, Abacus Community Sexual Health Service, Merseycare NHS Foundation Trust, Liverpool L1 4AP, UK; liz.stephens{at}


Objectives (1) To review management of a series of women referred for removal of intrauterine contraception (IUC) with non-visible threads. (2) To establish whether the device was likely to have been placed at the fundus at insertion. (3) To document removal success rates in a community sexual health (CSH) setting.

Study design A retrospective review of a series of 76 women seen by the author between April 2016 and October 2017 in a specialist CSH clinic for removal of IUC with non-visible threads.

Results After ultrasound scan (USS) assessment 67 women underwent a removal procedure. Sixty-two devices (92.5%) were successfully removed. Uterine instrumentation beyond the internal os was required in 43 removals, enabling comparison of uterine cavity length with the length of IUC and threads. Such comparison suggested 39/43 (91%) devices were not fundal at insertion and that non-visible threads were likely to have been caused by the device moving to the fundus post-insertion under the influence of uterine contractions, leading to retraction of the threads.

Conclusions Removal of IUC with non-visible threads can be successfully done in a CSH setting with ultrasound availability. Non-fundal placement of IUC at insertion is likely to be a significant cause of non-visible threads.

  • IUC
  • IUD
  • IUS
  • Non visible threads
  • IUC removal
  • CSH
View Full Text

Statistics from


  • Contributors The author saw all the patients in clinic, conducted the review of their cases, carried out data collection, interpretation of results and wrote up the report. Mr Terry Williams carried out the data analysis and is listed in the acknowledgement section.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

Linked Articles

  • Highlights from this issue
    British Medical Journal Publishing Group