What is Flexible Office Hysteroscopy?
Office hysteroscopy is a way of viewing
the inside of the uterus by gently inserting an ultra-thin, flexible
fiber-optic camera, called a hysteroscope, into the uterus through the
vagina. An office hysteroscopy takes place in your doctor's office,
instead of under general anesthesia in the operating room. This allows
your doctor to identify any problems that may be originating in the
uterus much more accurately than a D&C. It is done without making
incisions, without anesthesia, and with little discomfort. While the
insertion portion of the hysteroscope itself is very, very thin (thinner
than the diameter of a pencil), it's advanced optics allow a full color
view of the inside of the uterus and the openings to the fallopian
tubes. If your doctor has a video monitor in the room, you will be able
to see as well and have your questions answered. Why would I need Flexible Office Hysteroscopy?
You may be experiencing abnormal uterine
bleeding, or AUB, usually due to harmless fibroids or polyps in the
uterus. AUB can be defined as any significant change in your period.
Maybe you've noticed an increase in your flow, or more frequent periods
or unexplained spotting or bleeding after menopause. Rather than putting
you under general anesthesia just for a diagnostic procedure, your
doctor may prefer an immediate diagnosis in the office. Based on what
our doctor finds, you and he or she can discuss what method of treatment
is best for you-right then and there. Another reason your doctor might
suggest an office hysteroscopy is if you have trouble conceiving or
suffer from repeated miscarriages. Your doctor might prefer an office
hysteroscopy in order to actually see, rather than make an educated
guess, if you have adhesions, polyps or fibroids that may be hindering
conception or carrying a pregnancy to term. And the more you and your
doctor know about what the problem is, the easier it is to treat. What happens to me during hysteroscopy?
You'll change into a gown and lie on an
examination table with your feet in stirrups. Your doctor will check to
see if the opening of the cervix needs to be dilated slightly with a
special instrument. The hysteroscope is then gently inserted through the
vagina and cervix into the uterus. Your doctor will release a small
amount of saline solution into the uterine cavity, allowing it to expand
so he or she can see more clearly. A light in the hysteroscope allows
your doctor to carefully check the walls of the uterus and the openings
of the fallopian tubes. The examination takes less than 10 minutes. Does the procedure hurt?
It causes little discomfort. Most women only feel a minor pinch or very mild cramping. Are there any side effects from the procedure?
You may experience menstrual-type cramps
and bleeding for about 24 hours after a hysteroscopy. Office
hysteroscopy is relatively a very safe procedure because it is done
under constant visualization. Complications are rare. Instances of
infection, heavy bleeding, and injury to the cervix or uterus occur in
less than 1 percent of cases. Should you experience severe abdominal pain,
heavy vaginal bleeding or discharge or a fever, get in touch with your
doctor. Feel free to discuss office hysteroscopy with your doctor as a
patient-friendly option for diagnosis of abnormal uterine bleeding,
certain types of infertility and other gynecological problems.