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Dimensional analysis of the endometrial cavity: how many dimensions should the ideal intrauterine device or system have?

Authors Goldstuck ND

Received 28 November 2017

Accepted for publication 22 February 2018

Published 9 April 2018 Volume 2018:10 Pages 165—168

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/IJWH.S158281

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Amy Norman

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Elie Al-Chaer


Norman D Goldstuck

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University and Tygerberg Hospital, Bellville, Western Cape, South Africa


Background: The geometrical shape of the human uterus most closely approximates that of a prolate ellipsoid. The endometrial cavity itself is more likely to also have the shape of a prolate ellipsoid especially when the extension of the cervix is omitted. Using this information and known endometrial cavity volumes and lateral and vertical dimensions, it is possible to calculate the anteroposterior (AP) dimensions and get a complete evaluation of all possible dimensions of the endometrial cavity. These are singular observations and not part of any other study.
Methods: The AP dimensions of the endometrial cavity of the uterus were calculated using the formula for the volume of the prolate ellipsoid to complete a three-dimensional picture of the endometrial cavity.
Results: Calculations confirm ultrasound imaging which shows large variations in cavity size and shape. Known cavity volumes and length and breadth measurements indicate that the AP diameter may vary from 6.29 to 38.2 mm. These measurements confirm the difficulty of getting a fixed-frame intrauterine device (IUD) to accommodate to a space of highly variable dimensions. This is especially true of three-dimension IUDs. A one-dimensional frameless IUD is most likely to be able to conform to this highly variable space and shape.
Conclusion: The endometrial cavity may assume many varied prolate ellipsoid configurations where one or more measurements may be too small to accommodate standard IUDs. A one-dimensional device is most likely to be able to be accommodated by most uterine cavities as compared to two- and three-dimensional devices.

Keywords: intrauterine device, dimensions, endometrial cavity, prolate ellipsoid, variable space and shape

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