Hysteroscopy is a procedure that lets your doctor to view the inside of your uterus in order to detect and treat the possible causes of abnormal bleeding. This procedure is performed using a hysteroscope which is a thin, illuminated tube with a camera attached that is inserted into the vagina to examine the inside of the uterus and the cervix. This allows the surgeon to identify abnormalities present in the lining of the uterus. Hysteroscopy can be of two types: diagnostic and operative.

  • Diagnostic hysteroscopy: Diagnostic hysteroscopy is used to detect and diagnose problems associated with the uterus. It is also used to validate the results of other tests such as hysterosalpingography (HSG).
  • Operative hysteroscopy: This technique is used to correct any abnormal condition that has been identified during diagnostic hysteroscopy. During this procedure, small instruments used to correct the abnormal condition are inserted through the hysteroscope, thereby avoiding the need for a second surgical procedure.

When is hysteroscopy done?

Your surgeon may recommend hysteroscopy to determine and correct conditions such as:

  • To treat unexplained miscarriages
  • Heavy and irregular bleeding that has not improved with medication
  • Bleeding in between periods and also after menopause
  • To remove scar tissue present in the uterus
  • To remove polyps which are small lumps of tissue that grow on the lining of the uterus
  • To remove adhesions
  • To remove fibroids which are non-cancerous growths in the uterus

Hysteroscopy Procedure

You will be given a sedative followed by anesthesia. Then the surgeon will dilate the cervix in order to insert the hysteroscope through the vagina into the uterus. Carbon dioxide gas or a liquid solution is passed through the hysteroscope to dilate it and to clear away any mucus and blood. The lighted hysteroscope allows the surgeon to view the uterus and the openings of the fallopian tubes clearly. If surgery is required, small instruments are inserted through the hysteroscope into the uterus.

The time taken to perform hysteroscopy varies depending on the length of the procedure (if it is diagnostic or operative) and if additional surgeries are carried out at the same time. You may experience cramping and vaginal bleeding for a couple of days after the procedure. You may also feel pain in the shoulder if carbon dioxide gas was used during the procedure. However if symptoms like fever, heavy vaginal bleeding and severe abdominal pain persist, you should contact your surgeon immediately.

Benefits of hysteroscopy

Hysteroscopy has the following advantages:

  • Lesser pain
  • Shorter stay at the hospital
  • Shorter recovery time
  • Avoidance of procedures like hysterectomy and open abdominal surgery

Complications due to hysteroscopy

Although hysteroscopy is a relatively safe procedure, certain complications may arise in some cases such as:

  • Infection
  • Risks associated with anesthesia
  • Injury to the cervix, uterus, bowel or bladder
  • Heavy bleeding
  • Intrauterine scarring