If you’re having abnormal bleeding or pelvic pain, your doctor may recommend a procedure called hysteroscopy. This minimally invasive procedure enables your doctor to look inside your uterus in order to diagnose and treat what’s causing your symptoms – without having to make an incision in your abdomen.
The hysteroscope is a thin, lighted tube that’s inserted through the vagina into your uterus. This allows your doctor to examine the lining of your uterus and the openings of the fallopian tubes.
If an abnormal condition is detected during a diagnostic hysteroscopy, your doctor may use small instruments inserted through the hysteroscope to correct it, avoiding the need for a second surgery.
Why Is Hysteroscopy Performed?
The most common reason doctors recommend hysteroscopy is to help find the cause of abnormal bleeding (heavy or lengthy periods, bleeding between periods or after menopause).
This procedure may also be used to:
- Identify and remove polyps and fibroids (non-cancerous growths in the uterus)
- Locate and remove adhesions (scar tissue in the uterus, often due to infection or past surgery)
- Diagnose the cause of miscarriage when a woman has more than two miscarriages in a row
- Perform sterilization (the hysteroscope is used to place small implants in the fallopian tubes as a permanent form of birth control)
What Does the Hysteroscopy Procedure Involve?
Hysteroscopy is performed in the office or at the hospital on an outpatient basis. Before your hysteroscopy, your doctor may give you a sedative to help you relax, and you’ll be given either local or general anesthesia to eliminate any discomfort during the procedure.
- To start, your doctor will insert a speculum into the vagina to widen it, then dilate (widen) your cervix as necessary, and insert the hysteroscope through your vagina and cervix into your uterus
- Carbon dioxide gas (CO2) or a fluid (such as saline, or salt water) is moved through the hysteroscope into your uterus to expand it, helping your doctor see the lining more clearly
- Looking through the hysteroscope, your doctor can view the lining of your uterus and the openings of the fallopian tubes
- If a biopsy or other procedure is done, small instruments will be passed through the hysteroscope
The entire procedure takes anywhere from a few minutes to more than an hour, depending on whether your doctor has to perform any type of surgical procedure through the hysteroscope.
What Should I Expect After the Procedure?
You should be able to go home shortly after your procedure (if you have general anesthesia at the hospital or surgical center, you’ll need to wait until its effects have worn off and you must have someone else drive you home).
It’s normal to have some cramping or slight vaginal bleeding for one or two days afterwards. If CO2 gas was used during your procedure, you may also feel some shoulder pain until the gas wears off. Over-the-counter pain medication should control any discomfort.
Women’s Health: Experts in Hysteroscopy
Many of the physicians on our team have extensive experience performing hysteroscopy, so you can be assured that you’re in good hands if you need to have this procedure.
Questions about Hysteroscopy?
We’re happy to answer any questions you have about hysteroscopy. Simply contact us.