by Jen Rymaruk
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.
Reasons for Procedure
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.
Possible Complications TOP
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:
Factors that may increase the risk of complications include:
Be sure to discuss these risks with your doctor before the procedure.
What to Expect TOP
Prior to Procedure
Your doctor will ask about your medical history, medicines, 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:
Description of the Procedure
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 doctor will use the tools 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.
How Long Will It Take?
About 15-45 minutes (or longer for therapeutic procedure)
How Much Will It Hurt?
You will have mild cramping and soreness. Ask your doctor about pain medicine.
When you return home after the procedure, do the following to help ensure a smooth recovery:
Call Your Doctor TOP
After arriving home, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:
In case of an emergency, call for medical help right away.
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada
Women's Health Matters
Cohen SM, ed. Operative Laparoscopy & Hysteroscopy. New York, NY: Churchill Livingstone; 1996.
Gynecologic evaluation. The Merck Manual of Medical Information, Second Home Edition Online website. Available at: http://www.merck.c.... Updated March 2007. Accessed December 20, 2012.
Hysteroscopy. St. John’s Mercy Health Care website. Available at: http://www.mercy.net/service/hysteroscopy. Accessed December 20, 2012.
Julian T. Hysteroscopic complications. Journal of Lower Genital Tract Disease. 2002;6:39-47.
Last reviewed November 2012 by Andrea Chisholm, MD
Last Updated: 11/26/2012