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July 18, 1980

Intrauterine Devices and Their Complications

Author Affiliations

Michael Reese Hospital and Medical Center University of Chicago Medical Center Chicago


by David A. Edelman, Gary S. Berger, and Louis Keith, 263 pp, with illus, $20, Boston, GK Hall & Co, 1979.

JAMA. 1980;244(3):284. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03310030058040

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In the late 1930s there was a brief flurry of activity around the use of the intrauterine device (IUD) as a contraceptive agent following Ota's work with it in Japan. I recall my colleagues and I, among others, laboriously fashioning such a device of silkworm gut and stainless steel wire (two of the various materials suggested). We were soon disenchanted, however, because of the many major and minor complications that ensued, and which, even in that much less litigious era, gave us pause to reflect and then desist.

After a hiatus of 20 years, renewed interest, expedited by improved inert plastic materials with metal and hormone additives, has led to a resurgence in the development and use of the IUD as a contraceptive. When it is estimated that in the United States alone some 3 to 4 million women use IUDs, along with 12 to 15 million women worldwide, it