Hysteroscopy is a procedure that allows the physician to look inside your uterus in order to diagnose or treat uterine problems. This procedure is done using a hysteroscope, a thin, telescopic instrument that is inserted into the uterus through the vagina and cervix. Hysteroscopy is minor surgery performed either in your physician’s office or in a hospital setting. It can be performed with local or general anesthesia. Sometimes no anesthesia is needed. There is little risk involved with this procedure for most women.
Why perform a hysteroscopy?
Hysteroscopy is used to diagnose some uterine abnormalities, such as abnormal uterine bleeding, infertility, repeated miscarriages, adhesions, fibroid tumors, polyps, or to locate displaced intrauterine devices (IUDs).
The most common reason for a hysteroscopy is to diagnose and treat certain conditions such as uterine adhesions, septums, or fibroids which can often be removed through the hysteroscope.
When should a hysteroscopy be performed?
The best time for hysteroscopy is during the first week or so after your period. During this time your physician is best able to view the inside of the uterus.
How is an in-office, diagnostic hysteroscopy performed?
To prepare for diagnostic hysteroscopy, the physician uses an antiseptic in the vagina followed by the numbing of the cervix to prevent discomfort during dilation, extending the cervix for better visualization. A tiny video camera and light are attached to the hysteroscope to see inside the uterus. Meanwhile, fluid flows into the uterus for inflation, allowing your doctor to clearly see any fibroids, polyps or other abnormalities, which may cause bleeding. An endometrial biopsy may be taken, which is a tissue sample sent to pathology for testing.
What are the risks of hysteroscopy?
Hysteroscopy is a relatively safe procedure. Complications occur in less than 1% of patients and are rarely severe. Hysteroscopy allows physicians to diagnose and treat many disorders without a hospital stay.