What is a hysteroscopy?
A hysteroscopy allows a doctor to observe the lining of the uterus using a hysteroscope, a small, thin, flexible tube that includes a light and camera.
Why is a hysteroscopy performed?
There are several reasons to perform a hysteroscopy, including to:
- Determine the cause of severe cramping or abnormal bleeding and possibly correct the condition
- Determine the cause of bleeding after menopause
- Look for possible reasons for infertility
- Examine the uterine openings to the fallopian tubes for blockage and possibly correct the condition
- Reposition an intrauterine device
- Discover, examine and possibly remove small uterine fibroids or polyps
- Check for endometrial cancer
What happens in a hysteroscopy?
Hysteroscopy is usually performed in the operating room under sedation or general anesthesia. The doctor will use a speculum to spread apart the vaginal walls, and the hysteroscope is inserted into the vagina and moved through the cervix into the uterus. A liquid is released through the hysteroscope to expand the uterus and allow the doctor to better see the uterine lining. If any instruments are needed, they are inserted through the hysteroscope; no incisions are needed. The vast majority of patients return home shortly after the procedure, which generally lasts approximately 30 minutes.
Are there times during which a hysteroscopy shouldn’t be performed?
Yes. Hysteroscopy won't be performed on pregnant women, because of risk to the fetus, or on women with vaginal or cervical infections. Hysteroscopy also isn't recommended for women with cervical cancer or pelvic inflammation infections, and doctors often avoid performing the procedure during a woman's menstrual period because it is difficult to accurately view and assess the uterine lining.