This procedure uses a hysteroscope to view the inside of a woman’s uterus (womb). A hysteroscope is a long, thin telescope with a camera on the end. Other small, surgical tools may also be inserted into the uterus through the hysteroscope.
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Hysteroscopy is done for:
The result of the hysteroscopy depends on the reason for the procedure. In some cases, the doctor may be able to treat a condition right away. In other cases, you may need further surgery or other treatment.
Complications are rare. But, no procedure is completely free of risk. If you are planning to have hysteroscopy, your doctor will review a list of possible complications. These may include:
Before your procedure, talk to your doctor about ways to manage factors that may increase your risk of complications such as:
The following may also increase the risk of complications:
You will be asked about your medical history, medications, and allergies. A physical exam will be done. Blood tests may also be done.
Leading up to the procedure:
Depending on the reason for the hysteroscopy, your doctor may use:
A device called a speculum will be inserted into the vagina. It will hold your vagina open and allow instruments to enter easily. The doctor will clean the vagina and may dilate the cervix. The hysteroscope will then be put into the uterus through the vagina and dilated cervix. The uterus will be filled with carbon dioxide gas or a liquid. This will cause the uterus to inflate, allowing the doctor to get a closer, clear look at the uterine walls.
If you are having the procedure done for diagnostic reasons, the doctor will examine the uterus for abnormal tissue. A biopsy may be taken. Or, the uterine walls may be swabbed to get cell samples.
If you are having the procedure done for therapeutic reasons, the doctor may insert small surgical tools through the hysteroscope. The tools will be used to remove diseased tissue and make repairs. In some cases, the doctor will use another viewing tube called a laparoscope. It will be passed into the abdomen. This allows the doctor to monitor the outside of the uterus and detect any possible perforation of the uterus by the hysteroscope.
About 15-45 minutes (or longer for a therapeutic procedure)
You will have mild cramping and soreness. Ask your doctor about pain medication.
During your stay, the hospital staff will take steps to reduce your chance of infection such as:
There are also steps you can take to reduce your chances of infection such as:
After arriving home, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:
In case of an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
Women's Health—US Department of Health and Human Services
The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada
Women's Health Matters
Hysteroscopy. St. John’s Mercy Health Care website. Available at: http://www.mercy.net/service/hysteroscopy. Accessed September 30, 2014.
Julian T. Hysteroscopic complications. Journal of Lower Genital Tract Disease. 2002;6:39-47.
Last reviewed August 2014 by Andrea Chisholm, MDLast Updated: 9/30/2014