Lahey Health is now part of Beth Israel Lahey Health

by Rymaruk J

Definition

A hysteroscopy is a procedure to view the inside of a uterus. It uses a long thin scope with a camera on the end. Tools may also be passed with the scope to take samples or do treatment.

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Reasons for Procedure

Hysteroscopy is done for:

  • Diagnosis—the doctor can see an abnormal tissue. Samples may also be taken. May be done if you have:
  • Treatment such as:
    • Removal of polyps
    • Myomectomy—removal of fibrous or muscular tissue (fibroids)
    • Removal of intrauterine devices (IUDs)
    • Endometrial ablation—removal of uterine lining from the uterus

The result will depend on the reason for the procedure. Further surgery or other treatment may be needed.

Possible Complications

Complications are rare. But, no procedure is completely free of risk. Your doctor will review a list of possible complications. These may include:

  • Swelling or bleeding
  • Infection
  • Organ injury
  • Reaction to anesthesia

Factors that may increase your risk of complications include:

  • Smoking
  • Drinking
  • Chronic disease such as diabetes or obesity
  • History of pelvic inflammatory disease
  • Inflammation of the cervix
  • Distended bladder
  • Pregnancy or possible pregnancy

What to Expect

Prior to Procedure

You will be asked about your past health, medicine, and allergies. A physical exam and blood tests may be done.

Leading up to the procedure:

  • Talk to your doctor about any medicine you take. You may be asked to stop taking some medicines up to 1 week before the procedure.
  • Arrange to have someone drive you home. Also, arrange for help at home.
  • Eat a light meal the night before the surgery. Do not eat or drink anything after midnight.

Anesthesia

Depending on the reason for the hysteroscopy, your doctor may use one fo the following:

  • General anesthesia—blocks pain and keeps you asleep.
  • Regional anesthesia—numbs lower half of the body.
  • Local anesthesia—numbs a small area. A second medicine may also be given to help relaxation.

Description of the Procedure

A tool will be placed in the vagina. It will hold your vagina open and allow tools to enter easily. The doctor will clean the vagina and open the cervix. The scope will be passed through the vagina and into the uterus. The uterus will be filled with a gas or liquid. This will let the doctor get a closer, clear look at the uterus.

Other tools may be passed into the uterus. Abnormal tissue will be removed or repairs will be made. If a biopsy is needed, a sample of tissue will be removed. The wall may also be scraped to get cell samples. All samples will be examined in a lab.

How Long Will It Take?

About 15-45 minutes

How Much Will It Hurt?

You will have mild cramping and soreness. Medicine can help with discomfort.

Post-procedure Care

The care team will watch for any complications. Once you feel better you will be able to go home.

During your stay, the hospital staff will take steps to reduce your chance of infection such as:

  • Washing their hands
  • Wearing gloves or masks

Call Your Doctor

After arriving home, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:

  • Signs of infection, including fever and chills
  • Abnormal bleeding (more than a menstrual period)
  • Foul-smelling vaginal discharge
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Cough, shortness of breath, difficulty swallowing, or chest pain
  • Trouble urinating
  • Any other concerns

If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.

RESOURCES

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists  http://www.acog.org 

Office on Women's Health  http://www.womenshealth.gov 

CANADIAN RESOURCES

The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada  http://www.sogc.org 

Women's Health Matters  http://www.womenshealthmatters.ca 

References

Centini G1, Troia L, Lazzeri L, Petraglia F, Luisi S. Modern operative hysteroscopy. Minerva Ginecol. 2016 Apr;68(2):126-32.

Hysteroscopy. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist website. Available at: https://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Hysteroscopy. Updated October 2018. Updated January 7, 2019.

Hysteroscopy. NHS website. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/hysteroscopy/. Updated May 2018. Updated January 7, 2019.

Revision Information