Hysteroscopy is a procedure that allows your doctor to look inside your uterus in order to diagnose and treat causes of abnormal bleeding.
Hysteroscopy uses a hysteroscope which is a thin telescope that is inserted through the cervix into the uterus. The hysteroscope has a light and camera attached to it so your physician can see the lining of the uterus (endometrium), on a video screen. Because the inside of the uterus is a potential cavity, like a collapsed balloon, it is necessary to fill (distend) it with a sterile liquid in order to see.
During diagnostic hysteroscopy the hysteroscope is used just to observe the endometrial cavity (inside of the uterus.) Diagnostic hysteroscopy is used to diagnose problems of the uterus such as abnormal uterine bleeding, adhesions, fibroid tumors or polyps, or to locate displaced intrauterine devices (IUD’s). Hysteroscopy can also be used with other procedures, such as laparoscopy, or before procedures such as dilation and curettage (D&C).
During an operative hysteroscopy, a hysteroscope is used to correct an abnormal condition that has been detected during a diagnostic hysteroscopy. If an abnormal condition is detected, an operative hysteroscopy is often performed at the same time, avoiding the need for a second surgery. During operative hysteroscopy, small instruments used to correct the condition are inserted through the hysteroscope. In many situations, operative hysteroscopy may offer an alternative to hysterectomy.
Your doctor may perform hysteroscopy to correct the following uterine conditions:
- Polyps and fibroids: Hysteroscopy is used to remove these small non-cancerous growths found in the uterus
- Abnormal bleeding: Hysteroscopy can help identify the cause of heavy or lengthy menstrual flow, as well as bleeding between periods or after menopause
- Endometrial ablation: One procedure in which the hysteroscope, along with other instruments, is used to destroy the uterine lining in order to treat some causes of heavy bleeding
- Adhesions: Uterine adhesions are bands of scar tissue that can form in the uterus and may lead to changes in menstrual flow as well as infertility. Hysteroscopy can help your doctor locate and remove the adhesions
- Septum: Hysteroscopy can help determine whether you have a uterine septum, a malformation of the uterus that is present from birth.
The physicians at Evergreen Women's Health Center schedule hysteroscopy in an ambulatory surgery center using general anesthesia and some cases in the office with just local anesthesia. Typically hysteroscopy is an out-patient procedure. All of our physicians are skilled at performing diagnostic and operative hysteroscopy. Although there are many benefits associated with hysteroscopy, it may not be appropriate for some patients. Feel free to make an appointment with your physician to learn if hysteroscopy is right for you.