«I can still feel the pain and I feel physically ill remembering it. It was like a very intense physical version of hearing nails scratching down a blackboard. When I’m having it out, I’ll need to be anaesthetised.”
This is the experience of a woman who recently underwent the insertion of an intrauterine device (IUD) or coil, a widely used contraceptive device. The Swiss company Aspivix, based at UniverCité, is offering hope with a new gentler instrument it has developed for the procedure.
Incredibly, in the last century, there has been very little innovation in the basic design of the main instruments used for gynaecological examinations and procedures.
To insert or remove the IUD through the cervix, doctors must grasp and often pierce the cervix with a pincer-like instrument called a tenaculum. In some patients this causes cervical trauma and bleeding.
Doctors in Lausanne University Hospital (CHUV) are currently testing a suction-based alternative to the single-tooth tenaculum, developed by the local company, Aspivix.