Dilation and curettage is a surgical procedure where the cervix (the lower part of uterus) is dilated and tissues are removed from the inside of the uterus. The procedure is usually done to treat heavy menstrual bleeding or clean the lining of the uterus after an abortion or miscarriage.
During the procedure, the cervix is dilated with medication and a thin surgical instrument is inserted through the vagina. This instrument is then used to scrape (curettage) the uterine tissues.
Reasons for Conducting the Procedure
Dilation and curettage is mostly done to either treat or diagnose certain uterine disorders. Dilation and curettage is recommended if your doctor needs to diagnose conditions such as:
1. Irregular uterine bleeding
2. Postmenopausal bleeding
3. Discovery of unnatural endometrial cells while conducting a common test for cervical cancer
Sometimes, the doctor can take a sample tissue from the uterus and perform tests on it to check for the following conditions:
1. Uterine cancer
2. Uterine polyps (abnormal tissue growth)
3. Endometrial hyperplasia (precancerous thickening of the uterine lining)
Dilation and curettage, when used for therapeutic purposes, is used in the treatment of the following conditions:
1. To clear away molar pregnancy; which is characterized by formation of tumours.
2. To treat heavy bleeding after childbirth; any remaining placenta in the uterus is removed.
3. To remove benign uterine or cervical polyps.
4. To clear away fibroids (benign tumours which form on the uterine wall)
5. To remove any tissue that could have been left behind after an abortion or miscarriage to prevent heavy bleeding or infection
What needs to be considered before opting for it?
The procedure of dilation and curettage is mostly safe. Complications from this procedure are rare, but some factors should always be taken care off.
1. The surgical instrument can perforate or poke a hole in the uterus. Sometimes, perforations can heal on their own; but if any organ or blood vessel gets damaged, then another surgery will be required.
2. The cervix can be damaged during the procedure. The doctor can stitch the wound close, or apply pressure on the wound to stop the bleeding.
3. Sometimes, there might be scar tissues on the wall of the uterus. This can cause irregular, painful or absent menstrual cycles, augment risks of infertility and future miscarriages.