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What is a D and C?

By HERWriter
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appointment-for-a-d-and-c Image Source/Thinkstock

D and C stands for "dilation and curettage". Dilation (or dilatation) and curettage is one of the most common surgical procedures. It is also one of the safest.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) website stated that ʺa D&C is a procedure in which the cervix is dilated to make it wider and a sample of tissue is removed from the lining of the uterus.ʺ

ʺCurettage may be performed by scraping the uterine wall with a curette instrument or by a suction curettage (also called vacuum aspiration), using a vacuum-type instrument,ʺ revealed the American Pregnancy Association website.

According to the National Library of Medicine, a D and C procedure may be performed for one of the following medical reasons:

• Heavy menstrual bleeding
• Abnormal bleeding (during after menopause)
• Benign tumors
• Malignant cancer
• Adenomyosis
• Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
• Miscarriage or elective abortion
• IUD Removal
• Women unable to get pregnant

The American Pregnancy Association said, ʺabout 50 percent of women who miscarry do not undergo a D&C procedure. Women can safely miscarry on their own, with few problems in pregnancies that end before 10 weeks. After 10 weeks, the miscarriage is more likely to be incomplete, requiring a D&C procedure to be performed. Choosing whether to miscarry naturally (called expectant management) or to have a D&C procedure is often a personal choice, best decided after talking with your health care provider.ʺ

The procedure is generally conducted in a surgical setting. A D&C can occur as an inpatient or outpatient procedure. You may receive one of the following types anesthesia: general, IV or paracervical before the procedure.

According to the APA the following is how a D&C is conducted:

• The cervix is examined to evaluate if it is open or not.

• If the cervix is closed, dilators (narrow instruments in varying sizes) will be inserted to open the cervix to allow the surgical instruments to pass through.

• A speculum will be placed to keep the cervix open.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.