This is the use of a hysteroscope to view the inside of a woman’s uterus (womb). A hysteroscope is a long, thin telescope with a camera on the end. Other tiny tools may also be inserted into the uterus through the hysteroscope.
Hysteroscopy is done for:
The result of the hysteroscopy depends on the reason for the procedure. In some cases, the doctor may be able to treat a condition right away. In other cases, you may need further surgery or other treatment.
Complications are rare, but no procedure is completely free of risk. If you are planning to have hysteroscopy, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:
Factors that may increase the risk of complications include:
Be sure to discuss these risks with your doctor before the procedure.
Your doctor will likely do the following:
Leading up to the procedure:
Depending on the reason for the hysterscopy, your doctor may use:
A speculum will be inserted into the vagina, similar to performing a Pap smear. It will hold your vagina open and allow instruments to pass more easily. The doctor will clean the vagina and may dilate the cervix. The hysteroscope will then be put into the uterus through the vagina and cervix. The uterus will be filled with carbon dioxide gas or a liquid. This will cause the uterus to inflate, allowing the doctor to get a closer, clear look at the uterine walls.
If you are having the procedure done for diagnostic reasons, the doctor will examine the uterus for abnormal tissue. A biopsy may be taken, or the uterine walls may be swabbed to get cell samples.
If you are having the procedure done for therapeutic reasons, the doctor will insert small tools through the hysteroscope. The doctor will use the tools to remove diseased tissue and make repairs. In some cases, the doctor will use another viewing tube, called a laparoscope, passed into the abdomen. This allows the doctor to monitor the outside of the uterus and detect any possible perforation of the uterus.
About 15-45 minutes (or longer for therapeutic procedure)
You will have mild cramping and soreness. Ask your doctor about pain medicine.
When you return home after the procedure, do the following to help ensure a smooth recovery:
After arriving home, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada
Women's Health Matters
Diagnostic hysteroscopy for abnormal bleeding of the uterus. Health Source website. Available at: http://web28.epnet.com . Accessed August 22, 2005.
Gynecologic evaluation. The Merck Manual of Medical Information, Second Home Edition Online website. Available at: http://www.merck.com/mmhe/sec22/ch242/ch242c.html?qt=hysteroscopy&alt=sh#sec22-ch242-ch242c-124 . Updated March 2007. Accessed September 23, 2009.
Hysteroscopy. St. John’s Mercy Health Care website. Available at: http://www.stjohnsmercy.org/healthinfo/test/gyn/TP117.asp . Accessed August 22, 2005.
Julian T. Hysteroscopic complications. Journal of Lower Genital Tract Disease . 2002;6:39-47.
Reproductive endocrinology and infertility. Duke University Medical Center website. Available at: http://www2.mc.duke.edu/depts/obgyn/ivf/hysteros.htm . Accessed August 22, 2005.
Last reviewed November 2009 by Ganson Purcell, Jr., MD, FACOG, FACPE
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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