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Assessment of copper corrosion from frameless copper IUDs after long-term in utero residence

      Abstract

      Objective

      To assess the site-specific corrosive behavior of the frameless intrauterine device (IUD) following long-term exposure to the uterine environment.

      Study design

      A qualitative and morphological study using X-ray diffraction (XRD) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM).

      Results

      Three GyneFix® IUDs that were in site up to 150 months were examined. In utero corroded copper sleeves were divided into 10 different groups based on their shape (U or O), orientation (inside or outside) and in utero residence time. XRD indicated the presence of solely cuprite (Cu2O) as corrosion product on both the inside and the outside of the copper sleeves, regardless of their shape. These results were confirmed by backscattered electron micrographs recorded on the inside, the outside and the cross-section of the IUD sleeve. SEM results suggest that shape and orientation slightly affect the corrosion rate.

      Conclusion

      The apparent copper loss from both sides of GyneFix copper tubes proves that both sides are a potential copper source and therefore justifies the design of GyneFix IUD. This could be beneficial for women as the IUD could be reduced in size and therefore better tolerated. The impact on bleeding could also be minimized.

      Implication statement

      Release of copper ions from both sides of the copper tubes of the frameless GyneFix® IUD allows the IUD to be reduced in size, contributing to better toleration. The impact on menstrual bleeding is also minimized by a smaller size of the foreign body.

      Keywords

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