A hysteroscopy is a procedure to examine the inner lining of the uterus. It is performed using a long thin telescope that is passed through the opening of the cervix into the uterus. No cutting or incisions are required. The pictures from inside the uterus are displayed on a television screen.
Hysteroscopy is commonly used to assess the lining of the uterus in the event of:
- Abnormal or heavy bleeding
- Bleeding after menopause
- Polyps found on ultrasound (a polyp is a small dangly piece of tissue on a stalk, often found by ultrasound when investigating abnormal bleeding)
- Pelvic pain or discomfort
- Recurrent miscarriage.
At the same time as a hysteroscopy, a biopsy of the lining is always taken. This is called a curette, and is sometimes referred to as a clean-out. If polyps are present, they can be removed at the same time, which is quite a simple procedure called a polypectomy.
Hysteroscopy is a day surgery procedure
A hysteroscopy is done in hospital as a day case. This means you are well enough to go home shortly after the operation. It requires a general anaesthetic, meaning you will be fully asleep with a breathing tube in your throat. Once you are asleep, the operation takes less than 15 minutes.
What to expect after the procedure
After the operation, most patients feel a bit groggy from the anaesthetic. This generally lasts the whole day, and occasionally into the next day (most people only need to take one day off work for the operation). Some patients have light bleeding for up to a week, but mostly this is a few days or less. Crampy period pain can be present immediately after the operation, but normally resolves with panadol and Nurofen tablets.
It is not normal to be in pain for days after the operation, and you should come in for an assessment if this is the case. You should also be assessed if you have heavy bleeding or fevers following your procedure.