A hysteroscopy is an outpatient procedure that is used to examine the inside of the cervix and uterus as well as for some surgical procedures. The procedure utilizes a small, flexible tube called a hysteroscope. It’s equipped with a light that allows the physician to see into the uterine cavity and find abnormalities that may be present or conduct the necessary procedure.
What Is a Hysteroscopy?
There are two types of hysteroscopies — diagnostic and operative:
- Diagnostic hysteroscopies diagnose problems in the uterus or confirm other test results.
- An operative hysteroscopy follows a diagnostic hysteroscopy if the diagnostic yields abnormal results. It can be done during the same procedure as the diagnostic, negating the need for a second surgery.
The procedure for both types of hysteroscopies is the same. The doctor will schedule your hysteroscopy procedure for about a week after your last menstrual period, before you ovulate. This will allow the scope to get the best view of your uterus. Before the surgery, you’ll receive a local or general anesthetic and medication to help dilate your cervix.
Once you’re prepped, the physician will guide the hysteroscope through your vagina and cervix into the uterus. Then, they will inject a liquid or gas to expand the uterus and get a better view of the area. At this point, the doctor might take pictures, videos and tissue samples to biopsy. For a more complete image, they might also decide to perform a laparoscopy procedure along with the hysteroscopy, as it provides an outside view of the uterus, fallopian tubes, abdomen and pelvis.
If there’s abnormal bleeding that needs treating, your doctor might also use a resectoscope to remedy it. After the operation, your doctor may decide to insert a balloon catheter into your uterus to help rebuild the uterine cavity. There is a very low chance of complications caused by hysteroscopies.
Why Should I Get a Hysteroscopy?
The most common reason doctors will recommend a hysteroscopy is to diagnose and treat abnormal bleeding. However, there are many reasons why you and your doctor might decide to move forward with a hysteroscopy, including:
- Irregular results from your pap smear.
- Fibroids, polyps or scarring found on your uterus.
- Collecting a biopsy sample.
- Exploring conditions that can’t be found on an ultrasound.
- Issues with conception and pregnancy.
- Your IUD is out of place, or you’re getting a sterilization procedure.
Before you agree to a hysteroscopy, make sure you speak with your doctor about it to understand the procedure, potential side effects and any other concerns you might have for before, during and after the surgery.
What Are the Risks Associated with Hysteroscopies?
Hysteroscopies are a very low-risk procedure. However, as with any surgery, complications can and do occur occasionally. Less than 1% of hysteroscopy patients experience complications such as:
- Severe abdominal pain.
- Heavy bleeding.
- Injury to the cervix and uterus.
- Damage to nearby organs.
- Complications from the fluid or gas used in the uterus.
Should you experience any of these symptoms or fear something went wrong, contact your doctor immediately or go to the nearest emergency room for treatment.
More likely than having complications from the surgery is complications caused by anesthesia. Pain, nausea and vomiting can occur in nearly 30% of patients but are generally not serious or life-threatening. Overall, you might feel uncomfortable for a few days, but if the pain becomes unbearable or you feel like something is seriously wrong, reach out to Mile High OB/GYN or your primary care physician.
What Is the Recovery Period for a Hysteroscopy?
If your physician does not find any abnormalities during your procedure, the process could be as short as 10-15 minutes. After the surgery, you will likely be released quickly. If you received an anesthetic, you’ll need someone to drive you home. For the first couple of days, you might experience gas pains, cramping, vaginal bleeding and pain in the upper belly and shoulder.
You’ll be able to return to your regular activities quickly, but you’ll need to avoid douching and sex for two weeks, or as long as your doctor suggests.
Where Can I Find Hysteroscopy Services Near Me?
Mile High OB/GYN has over six decades of experience in the obstetrics and gynecology fields. We founded our business under the premise of providing high-quality care to every patient we treat and welcoming them to our family for generations to come. We’ve dedicated ourselves to giving our patients the specialized care they deserve. Every doctor in our practice is a specialist, and most of our surgical procedures are available right in any of our three conveniently located offices.
If you’re ready to schedule an appointment at one of our centers, you can book online now. Or, reach out to the office closest to you — our locations are in DTC, Denver and Rose — to discuss our services further with our friendly staff. Call us today.