There are several noninvasive medical procedures and devices physicians can use today that help make diagnosis and treatment easier on the patient. In women’s health, for instance, from laparoscopic surgeries to the da Vinci® robot, medical techniques and technology have grown so sophisticated so quickly that surgery to correct abnormal bleeding during a period can be performed in a short amount of time in an outpatient setting, rather than in a hospital with an overnight stay. This procedure, and many other procedures involving the uterus or female reproductive system, is most often carried out with a hysteroscopy, and can be beneficial to women in many ways.
Hysteroscopy Provides Inside-the-Body View
Similar to a colonoscopy or endoscopy, but specifically performed inside the uterus, a hysteroscopy lets your doctor look inside your body to help diagnose and treat medical problems. Typically, he or she is looking for the source of abnormal bleeding, but it can be used for other purposes as well. The device itself is a long, thin, metal tube, equipped with a light and camera that’s inserted through the vagina into the uterus. The hysteroscope transmits the image of your uterus onto a screen.
When it Might Be Used
Hysteroscopies have proven to be a useful tool in investigating and diagnosing, and sometimes treating, issues that might occur in the female reproductive system. Your doctor might order a hysteroscopy if:
- You’re experiencing abnormally heavy bleeding during periods.
- You have longer-than-normal periods.
- There is bleeding between periods.
- Pap test results are abnormal.
- There is bleeding after menopause.
- Something seems wrong with your IUD.
- You’ve had more than one miscarriage or are noticing problems getting pregnant.
- Fibroids, polyps or scarring on your uterus are present.
- A biopsy is needed.
- You are going to have a sterilization procedure as a form of permanent birth control.
If there are small medical issues that exist and can be confirmed, such as polyps, fibroids, adhesions, septums, or abnormal bleeding caused by something that can be fixed with ablation through a hysteroscopy, those can typically be corrected at the same time, as small instruments can also be inserted and used through the hysteroscope.
What to Expect
Hysteroscopies are typically scheduled during the first week following your period – this allows for a more clear view of what’s going on inside your uterus. Depending on what the hysteroscopy is being used for, you might be given medication or anesthesia to either help you relax or to help numb the pain. Some procedures require general anesthesia to help you sleep during the procedure. A speculum will be inserted into the vagina, and then the hysteroscope will be gently put through the cervix into the uterus. Either carbon dioxide gas or a saline solution will be pushed through the hysteroscope to help inflate the uterus and allow your doctor to see inside. He or she will perform whatever procedure is required. Recovery time is minimal. You will likely be able to leave shortly after the hysteroscopy is complete. There might be some light bleeding or mild cramping afterward for a short time.
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Dr. Khairah is a board-certified Obstetrics and Gynecology specialist who provides complete maternity care and delivery, including prenatal counseling. He cares for his patients at Kelsey-Seybold’s Fort Bend Medical and Diagnostic Center, where he performs minimally invasive laparoscopic/hysteroscopic procedures. He’s also trained in robotic surgery utilizing the da Vinci® System.