Hysteroscopy at a glance
- Hysteroscopy is a procedure that allows an OB/GYN to look inside a woman’s uterus to evaluate and treat causes of abnormal bleeding.
- During a hysteroscopy procedure, a doctor uses a thin tube with a camera on the end, known as a hysteroscope, to examine the uterus.
- Hysteroscopy can be performed in our outpatient procedure room and is often used for diagnostic purposes or for outpatient procedures like the removal of polyps and small uterine fibroids.
- Our procedure room allows patients to receive quick, office-based treatment, but also provides more comfort with easy access to intravenous pain medications and knowledgeable support staff.
- In addition to the uses mentioned above, hysteroscopy is often used to identify scar tissue, locate malpositioned contraceptive devices, and diagnose other abnormalities within the uterus.
What is hysteroscopy?
A hysteroscope is a thin telescope-like instrument used to examine the inside of the cervix, uterus and the openings of the fallopian tubes. It can also be used to perform gynecologic procedures.
Hysteroscopy can be performed in an operating room or outpatient procedure room, which is similar to a doctor’s office. It is used to diagnose reproductive health conditions and abnormalities within the uterus, and to perform less complex outpatient procedures.
Who needs office hysteroscopy?
Hysteroscopy is an important diagnostic and operative procedure that can be used for patients experiencing a number of symptoms or potential conditions. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, it is most commonly used to identify the cause of abnormal bleeding. Our OB/GYNs might use office hysteroscopy for the following diagnostic purposes:
- Confirm the results of an abnormal Pap smear or other test results.
- Determine the cause of heavy or abnormal uterine bleeding.
- Determine the cause of unexplained spotting or bleeding in postmenopausal women.
- Examine and remove uterine fibroids, polyps or adhesions.
- Place intrauterine devices (IUDs) or locate IUDs that have shifted.
- Identify uterine septum or other uterine abnormalities.
- Diagnose the cause of infertility or repeated miscarriage.
When a doctor is using hysteroscopy in conjunction with a more in-depth surgical procedure, such as a minimally invasive laparoscopy, it will likely be performed in an operating room.
What to expect during an office hysteroscopy
Hysteroscopy can be performed in our outpatient procedure center, and can be done with local anesthesia. An IV is placed prior to the procedure, allowing the physician to easily administer quick-acting, mild narcotics and sedatives to provide relaxation and adequate pain control during the procedure.
The patient will be in the same position on the exam table as she would be for a pelvic exam. A speculum is placed into the vagina to visualize the cervix, and the hysteroscope is then inserted through the cervix into the uterus.
Once the hysteroscope is inserted, the doctor will use saline solution to expand the uterus in order to carefully see and evaluate the entire uterine cavity. Small instruments are passed through the hysteroscope if a biopsy or other procedure is indicated.
Patients go home directly after the procedure and are advised to have a ride home after the procedure, given the IV pain medications administered.
Risks and side effects of hysteroscopy
Office hysteroscopy is considered a minor procedure that presents minimal risks. However, there are still potential complications of that may occur. Potential complications and side effects include mild cramping, light bleeding, infection, perforation of the uterus, heavy bleeding, and side effects associated with the use of anesthesia. Patients experiencing heavy bleeding or discharge, fever, chills or severe pain following the procedure should report their symptoms to their care provider.