We report our experience of managing a patient whose IUCD had migrated into the bladder.

Keywords: Intrauterine Contraceptive Device, IUCD, bladder
Authors: Mr Ian Beckley1, Mr Roy Abrahamb2, Mr Karol Rogawski1. Department of Urology1, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology2  Huddersfield Royal Infirmary
Corresponding Author: Ian Beckley, Huddersfield Royal Infirmary. E-mail: ianbeckley@googlemail.com

Introduction

The intrauterine contraceptive device (IUCD) is a well established method of reversible contraception utilised by women throughout the developed and developing world. It is associated with a relatively low complication rate. Occasionally the device may perforate the uterus and migrate to surrounding organs and intra-abdominal structures. We report our experience of managing a patient whose IUCD had migrated into the bladder.

Case report

A 30 year old female (P1+0) had an IUCD inserted at a Family Planning Clinic in September 2008. The patient experienced significant discomfort during the procedure but did not require admission. She had a follow up examination 6 weeks later and was told that the coil threads were seen. However she continued to have pelvic discomfort.
In March 2009, she contacted a general practitioner (GP) as she was not confident that the threads of the device could be felt in the vagina. On examination, the GP confirmed the absence of the strings. At the same time, she was experiencing pain in the right hip and was referred for an x-ray of the pelvis and both hip joints. The x-ray confirmed the presence of an IUCD in a slightly oblique position, well above the pubic symphysis. The GP was satisfied by the radiology report and therefore cancelled a trans-vaginal ultrasound that had also been requested. The patient’s symptoms gradually settled.
In February 2010, following a glass of red wine, she passed some dark coloured urine but did not seek a medical opinion at this point.  Two months later she returned to the Family Planning Clinic for removal of the coil as she was planning on starting a family. The IUCD threads were not seen on examination. The device was noted to be outside the endometrial cavity on trans-vaginal ultrasound. At subsequent diagnostic hysteroscopy, only the threads of the device could be seen in the endometrial cavity. A diagnostic rigid cystoscopy was performed at the same time and an area of granulation tissue over the posterior bladder wall towards the bladder dome was noted. The device however, could not be seen clearly.
A CT scan was performed to assess the position of the device in relation to neighbouring structures (see figure 1). 
Figure 1. CT scan


The scan showed the right arm lying completely outside of the uterine cavity in contact with a loop of small bowel. The left arm was noted within the wall of the posterior bladder. The stem of the coil was seen to indent the upper bladder but did not appear to enter the bladder.
The patient subsequently underwent mini-laparotomy and removal of IUCD. A rigid cystoscopy performed prior to the procedure demonstrated a 6mm polypoid lesion at the dome of the bladder. The lesion was surrounded by an area of inflammation through which the tip of an arm of the IUCD could be seen (see figure 2). 
Figure 2. 


At laparotomy, the coil was noted lying between the bladder dome, the body of the uterus and the left fallopian tube, covered in omentum (see figure 3). 
Figure 3. 


The omentum was dissected off the IUCD. The vertical portion of the IUCD was noted between the bladder and the body of the uterus. The left arm was seen to be entering the bladder. A cuff of bladder tissue containing the IUCD was removed and sent for histology. 
The bladder was closed with 2.0 vicryl in a continuous two layer suture. Omentum was placed between the bladder and the uterus and secured with 2.0 vicryl. A number 15 Robinsons drain was placed at the end of the procedure and the abdomen was closed in layers with 1.0 loop PDS. A 3.0 Monocryl suture was used to close the skin and 18 Charriere urethral catheter was left in situ. 
The histology report was as follows: “Macroscopically an irregular bisected piece of granulation tissue measuring 30 x 10 x 8mm is noted around the part of IUCD in the bladder. Microscopically this is bladder tissue with urothelium and smooth muscle.  A tract lined by granulation tissue was seen, consistent with the history. There was no evidence of dysplasia or malignancy.”
The patient had an uneventful post-operative stay. Her drain was removed on the second post-operative day and she was discharged home two days later. The catheter was removed one week after surgery and she did not experience any voiding difficulties.
Discussion
The IUCD is an increasingly utilised method of contraception that accounts for around 3% of total contraceptive use in England [1]. The device is usually well tolerated but can be associated with a number of rare adverse complications. These include septic abortion, ectopic pregnancy and pelvic abscess formation [2]. The most serious complication is uterine perforation which has an incidence ranging from 0.2 – 3.4 per 1000 insertions [3]. Perforation can develop at any time but is thought to occur most commonly at the time of insertion [4]. The diagnosis should be suspected in patients who report severe or disproportionate pain at this stage [5]. Risk factors for uterine perforation include inexperienced operator, inaccurate estimation of uterine size and position and timing of insertion e.g. following recent abortion or pregnancy [6]. Spontaneous contraction of the uterus or bladder and bowel peristalsis, have also been suggested to contribute to spontaneous migration of an IUCD [7].
Uterine perforation may be classified as partial or complete depending on whether or not the IUCD has passed completely though the uterine wall [8]. Complete perforation can result in migration of the device to other intra-abdominal organs and structures including the colon, appendix, bladder, omentum and peritoneal cavity [9]. 
With regard to involvement of the bladder, patients may present with visible haematuria, lower abdominal pain and urinary symptoms such as dysuria, urgency and frequency [2]. Patients may also present without specific urinary symptoms and their absence therefore does not exclude bladder involvement. 
In a small number of cases, bladder perforation by IUCD has been associated with intravesical stone formation [10]. The factors predisposing to stone formation are unknown but it is thought to be related to the length of time that the IUCD is present within the bladder [11]. These patients commonly present with visible haematuria and storage lower urinary tract symptoms. The stones are often visible on plain abdominal radiography. These intravesical calculi are usually managed by either cystolitholapaxy or suprapubic cystolithotomy [6].
Other urological complications of coil migration which have been reported include urinary incontinence, fibrosis around the pelvic ureter and squamous cell carcinoma of the bladder [12, 13].
In several cases, including this report, patients have complained of symptoms over a long period of time prior to being investigated [1 7 11 14] It is therefore important to consider the diagnosis of bladder perforation in any patient with an IUCD in-situ who presents with abdominal pain and/or urinary symptoms. If the threads of the device are not identifiable, it is erroneous to assume that the device has merely fallen out. Conversely it should not be assumed that the device has definitely migrated beyond the uterus as a recent study suggested that up to 50% of suspected lost coils were still present within the uterus [15]. As our case clearly demonstrates, plain radiography alone is insufficient to confirm that the device is present within the uterine cavity.  A combination of plain abdominal/pelvic radiography and transvaginal or transabdominal ultrasound is usually employed to determine the location of the device. If the diagnosis of migrated IUCD is made, detailed cross-sectional imaging may be required to define the relationship of the IUCD to the intra-abdominal and pelvic structures prior to planning definitive treatment [16]. If the bladder is shown to be involved, pre-operative cystoscopy should be performed to clarify the site and degree of perforation and to determine whether calculus formation has occurred [17]. 
Whilst some authors believe that some asymptomatic patients with a migrated IUCD can be managed conservatively, we feel surgical intervention should be mandatory if the device has migrated to the bladder due to the risk of stone formation [18].  In modern practice the majority of cases of translocated IUCD are managed by lapaoscopic retrieval [19]. Laparotomy is usually indicated if the device has migrated to organs such as the bladder and cannot be removed because of its location [20]. 

Conclusions

Whilst IUCD migration to the bladder is a rare complication of the device, it should be considered in patients with a coil in-situ who present with abdominal pain and urinary symptoms. A high index of suspicion and timely appropriate investigations may enable the IUCD to be removed before complications such as bladder calculi can develop.
We would like to emphasise that only experienced operators should insert intrauterine devices and symptoms such as persisting pain following insertion or missing coil threads should be investigated immediately with radiography and ultrasound.  

References
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Date added to bjui.org: 16/06/2011 (publication information)
This content is exclusive to bjui.org website.
DOI: 10.1002/BJUIw-2011-045-web

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CASE REPORTS: Intravesical Migration of an Intrauterine Contraceptive Device

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