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What Are the Side Effects & Complications of the Paragard® Copper IUD?

If you or a loved one has suffered from complications after a ParaGard IUD breakage, you may want to speak with a personal injury lawyer.

What is the ParaGard IUD?

An IUD intrauterine device (IUD) is a flexible, T-shaped piece of plastic placed within the uterus to prevent conception. Of the five IUDs approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, only ParaGard is hormone-free. Instead of using the hormone progestin to prevent pregnancy, the ParaGard is wrapped in copper wire. The copper ions make the uterus inhospitable to both sperm and eggs, which, in turn, prevents conception for up to 10 years. This makes ParaGard a popular option for women who want or need to avoid the known risks hormone-based IUDs can cause.

ParaGard IUD arms can break during removal.

Two monofilament strands attached to the bottom the ParaGard allow a doctor to remove the IUD at any time. When the IUD is ready for removal/explant, the doctor will grasp the monofilaments with forceps and pull it out of the uterus.

Ideally, the IUD should remain in one piece during removal. Unfortunately, hundreds of doctors and patients have reported cases where one or both arms of the ParaGard IUD broke off during removal, leaving broken piece(s) inside the uterus. There have also been reports of the ParaGard arms breaking off before removal.

Regardless of how the breakage occurs, once it has happened, the arm fragments remain inside the uterus. They may become embedded in the uterine wall. Removing the broken pieces can be painful, invasive, and even life-altering. Some women may never be able to have a vaginal childbirth, while others may never be able to have children at all.

Failure to warn about the side effects.

Patients who have filed personal injury lawsuits against the manufacturers of ParaGard allege that the makers of ParaGard did not adequately warn either patients or their doctors about the possibility of IUD arm breakage as a known side effect.

Medical complications from the breakage of ParaGard IUD arms.

Surgical procedures to locate and remove the broken pieces of a ParaGard IUD can include:

  • Hysteroscopy: a fiber-optic tube that is inserted into the vagina to examine the cervix and inside of the uterus.
  • Laparoscopy: a fiber-optic tube is inserted through the abdominal wall to view the organs.
  • Laparotomy: surgical incision into the abdominal cavity.
  • Hysterectomy: the surgical removal of the uterus. Some hysterectomies (“full” or “total” hysterectomies) also include the removal of the cervix, ovaries, and/or fallopian tubes. Women who have hysterectomies often need a life-long course of hormone replacement therapy.
  • Pregnancy complications: Any foreign object in the uterus during a pregnancy can result in high risk pregnancies and increases the chances of needing a Caesarian delivery.

Women should be able to trust that the medical devices they use will not have such an adverse impact on their reproductive health. Doctors and medical providers should know about the full range of risks and side effects of a medical product before they recommend it to patients.

If you have any questions about an injury caused by the arm breakage of the ParaGard IUD, we encourage you to contact an experienced personal injury team about your options.

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