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This procedure involves the surgical removal of the lining of the uterus (womb). It may involve using heat, cold temperatures, microwave energy, or other methods.
Reasons for Procedure
Endometrial ablation will likely make menstrual flow lighter. In some cases, it stops menstrual flow completely. The procedure is used to treat
(recurrent heavy periods not controlled by medicine).
Talk to your doctor about your plans for having a baby. This procedure decreases your chance of pregnancy.
Regional anesthesia—blocks pain in an area of the body but you stay awake through the procedure, given as an injection
Local anesthesia—just the area that is being operated on is numbed, given as an injection
Your doctor will help you decide which one is right for you.
Description of the Procedure
There are many different ways for the doctor to do this procedure. A simple ablation procedure is short. It can often be done in a care center. Other procedures take longer and need to be done in a hospital.
During the procedure, the doctor will not make any incisions to access the uterus. A tiny probe will be inserted through the vagina and into the uterine cavity through the cervix. Depending on the method, the tip of the probe will expand to deliver:
Electrosurgery (uses electrical current and a heated rollerball or spiked ball)—may require general anesthesia
These methods will destroy the cells lining the uterine cavity. You will not feel pain. Often, ultrasound is used to help guide the doctor. Suction will be used to remove the tissue that has been destroyed.
How Long Will It Take?
This depends on the type of method. It can take 15-45 minutes or longer.
How Much Will It Hurt?
You may feel cramping and discomfort. Your doctor will give you pain medicine.
Average Hospital Stay
This is usually done on an outpatient basis. You may need to stay there for 1-2 hours. Some methods may require an overnight hospital stay.
At the Care Center or Hospital
While recovering, you may receive the following care:
Check blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing
Check on your fluid status and the electrolytes in your blood
During your stay, the hospital staff will take steps to reduce your chance of infection such as:
Washing their hands
Wearing gloves or masks
Keeping your incisions covered
There are also steps you can take to reduce your chances of infection such as:
Washing your hands often and reminding visitors and healthcare providers to do the same
Reminding your healthcare providers to wear gloves or masks
Not allowing others to touch your incisions
Your doctor will ask you how you feel and make sure you are well enough to go home.
After the procedure, you may:
Feel cramping for 1-2 days
Have a heavy discharge for 2-3 days
Have a watery, bloody discharge for a few weeks
Need to go to the bathroom a lot for the first day and have some nausea
When you return home, do the following to help ensure a smooth recovery:
Make sure you have a supply of sanitary pads at home.
You should be able to return to normal activities within a day or two. Ask your doctor when you can:
Resume sexual activity
Shower, bathe, or soak in water
Since you still have your sexual organs, you will need to:
Badash M. Menorrhagia. EBSCO Health Library website. Available at: ...(Click grey area to select URL) Updated November 17, 2008. Accessed April 7, 2009.
Endometrial ablation. AHRQ National Guideline Clearinghouse website. Available at: ...(Click grey area to select URL) Updated May 2007. Accessed April 7, 2009.
Endometrial Ablation. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Practice bulletin. No. 81, May 2007.
Endometrial ablation. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists website. Available at: ...(Click grey area to select URL) Published March 2009. Accessed May 4, 2009.
Heavy menstrual bleeding. National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence website. Available at: ...(Click grey area to select URL) Published January 2007. Accessed April 7, 2009.
Lethaby A, Hickey M, et al. Endometrial destruction techniques for heavy menstrual bleeding. Cochrane Collection website. Available at: ...(Click grey area to select URL) Updated August 23, 2005. Accessed April 7, 2009.
Patient fact sheet: endometrial ablation. American Society for Reproductive Medicine website. Available at: ...(Click grey area to select URL) Updated 2008. Accessed May 4, 2009.
Rymaruk J. Hysteroscopy. EBSCO Health Library website. Available at: ...(Click grey area to select URL) Updated November 17, 2008. Accessed April 7, 2009.
Understand NICE guidelines: treatment and care for women with heavy periods. National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence website. Available at: ...(Click grey area to select URL) Published January 2007. Accessed April 8, 2009.
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This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.