Hysteroscopy

What is a Hysteroscopy?

A hysteroscopy is a way for your doctor to look at the lining of your uterus. He or she uses a thin viewing tool called a hysteroscope. The tip of the hysteroscope is put into your vagina and gently moved through the cervix into the uterus. The hysteroscope has a light and camera hooked to it so your doctor can see the lining (endometrium) on a video screen.

Why is it done?

  1. Find the cause of severe cramping or abnormal bleeding. Your doctor can pass heated tools through the hysteroscope to stop the bleeding.
  2. See whether a problem in the shape or size of the uterus or if scar tissue in the uterus is the cause of infertility.
  3. Look at the uterine openings to the fallopian tubes. If the tubes are blocked, your doctor may be able to open the tubes with special tools passed through the hysteroscope.
  4. Find the possible cause of repeated miscarriages. Other tests may also be done.
  5. Find and remove small fibroids or polyps.
  6. Use heated tools to remove problem areas in the lining of the uterus (endometrial ablation).

What to expect after the surgery?

Right after the test, you will be taken to a recovery area where nurses will care for and observe you. Usually you will stay in the recovery area for 1 to 4 hours, and then you can go home.

It is normal to have a small amount of vaginal bleeding for a day or so after a hysteroscopy. You also may have some mild belly pain if a gas was used during the test. This should go away in 24 hours. You can take painkillers to relieve the pain.

What are the risks of the surgery?

  • If a fluid is used during the test to help your doctor see the uterine lining clearly, you may absorb some fluid and feel bloated. I
  • If gas is used, you have a small risk for an air bubble (air embolism) in a blood vessel, though this is very rare.
  • Injury to the uterus or cervix
  • Infection
  • Bleeding.
  • In rare cases, the uterus, bladder, or bowel can be punctured during the test, requiring surgical repair.
  • If general anesthesia is used, there is a small risk of problems from the anesthesia.

What are the alternatives to the surgery?

Depending on your symptoms and circumstances, there may be alternative treatments or investigations available to you.

A pelvic ultrasound scan can be used to diagnose some conditions. An ultrasound scan uses sound waves to produce an image of the inside of your womb.

An endometrial biopsy is an alternative to a hysteroscopy if your surgeon wants to take a sample of the lining of your womb. A narrow tube is passed through your cervix and into your womb, then gentle suction is used to remove samples of your womb lining that will be examined under a microscope. Sometimes you may have this at the same time as a hysteroscopy.

Your doctor will explain the different options to you.