Missing IUCD

Last revised by Qutaiba Jaf'ar Mahmoud on 24 Sep 2023

A missing IUCD is considered when the retrieval strings of certain types of intrauterine contraception devices (IUCD) cannot be seen on physical examination. The possibilities are

Radiographic features

Plain radiograph

Anteroposterior and lateral abdominal radiographs can be helpful in demonstrating an extrauterine IUCD.


Ultrasound is appropriate for initial evaluation and can provide answers to clinical questions related to the IUCD. It easily helps determine whether an IUCD is correctly positioned and can often help identify IUCD-related complications. Three-dimensional (3D) US is gaining recognition for its role in imaging IUCDs. 


Rarely CT is used for the assessment of IUCD position. More often IUCDs are incidentally visualized on CT. CT is the best modality for the evaluation of complications associated with intra-abdominal IUCDs, e.g. visceral perforation, abscess formation, and bowel obstruction.


MRI is not typically used for evaluation of IUCD, but modern IUCDs are safely imaged with MRI and appear as signal voids.

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