Hysteroscopy is a minor surgical procedure used for diagnosis and/or treatment of various conditions of the uterus. In this procedure, a thin telescopic instrument called a hysteroscope is inserted into the uterus through the vagina to view the internal structures for diagnosing or treating conditions. The camera in the hysteroscope projects the images onto the large television screen thereby helping the surgeon to view the internal structures.
Hysteroscopy is most commonly used to diagnose the cause of abnormal uterine bleeding. It is also used to diagnose adhesions, cause of repeated miscarriages or infertility, fibroid tumors, polyps or to locate a displaced intrauterine device. It is sometimes used as an alternative to open abdominal surgery to remove adhesions, septums or fibroids and to put small implants into the fallopian tubes as a permanent method of sterilization in women.
Hysteroscopy can be done any time when you are not menstruating but the doctor is able to see the uterus more clearly either in the first week or just after your period ceases.
Hysteroscopy is a simple procedure and can be done in the doctor’s office or in a hospital. The procedure is done under local or general anesthesia as per your doctor’s discretion based on the purpose of the procedure.
The cervix, the opening of the uterus in the vagina, is dilated by inserting medication in it or using special dilator instruments. A speculum is inserted into the vagina and the hysteroscope is then inserted through the speculum and slowly advanced into the uterus. A gas or liquid is released from the hysteroscope into the uterus thereby expanding the area allowing for a better view of the inside of the uterus, especially the lining of the uterus and the openings of the fallopian tubes. Surgical instruments are passed through the hysteroscope if any surgical procedures are to be done.
After the procedure
You will be allowed to go home the same day if local anesthesia was used but you may need to be hospitalized overnight if general anesthesia was used during the procedure. You will have mild vaginal bleeding for a few days after the procedure which is not a cause for concern unless it is heavy and you also may experience mild cramps.
Hysteroscopy is generally safe. In rare cases injury may occur to the uterus or cervix during the procedure and may result in heavy bleeding. Infections or reactions to the anesthesia are some of the adverse effects observed in some individuals.
You should seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of the below mentioned conditions:
- Heavy vaginal bleeding
- Severe abdominal pain