Pronounced: Endo-mee-tree-al A-blay-shun
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.
Endometrial ablation will likely make menstrual flow lighter. In some cases, it stops menstrual flow completely. The procedure is used to treat menorrhagia (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.
Complications are rare, but no procedure is completely free of risk. If you are planning to have endometrial ablation, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:
Some factors that may increase the risk of complications include:
Be sure to discuss these risks with your doctor before the procedure.
Prior to the procedure, your doctor will likely:
Before the procedure, you may need to:
The day before the procedure:
There are three anesthesia options for ablation:
Your doctor will help you decide which one is right for you.
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:
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.
This depends on the type of method. It can take 15-45 minutes or longer.
You may feel cramping and discomfort. Your doctor will give you pain medicine.
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.
While recovering, you may receive the following care:
Your doctor will ask you how you feel and make sure you are well enough to go home.
After the procedure, you may:
When you return home, do the following to help ensure a smooth recovery:
After you leave the hospital, call your doctor if any of the following occurs:
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
American Society for Reproductive Medicine
Canadian Women’s Health Network
Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of
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Endometrial ablation. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists website. Available at: http://www.acog.or... . Published March 2009. Accessed May 4, 2009.
Heavy menstrual bleeding. National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence website. Available at: http://www.nice.or... . Published January 2007. Accessed April 7, 2009.
Lethaby A, Hickey M, Garry R. Endometrial destruction techniques for heavy menstrual bleeding. Cochrane Collection website. Available at: http://www.cochrane.org/reviews/en/ab001501.html . Updated August 23, 2005. Accessed April 7, 2009.
Patient fact sheet: endometrial ablation. American Society for Reproductive Medicine website. Available at: http://www.asrm.or... . Updated 2008. Accessed May 4, 2009.
Rymaruk J. Hysteroscopy. EBSCO Health Library website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/healthLibrary/ . 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: http://www.nice.or... . Published January 2007. Accessed April 8, 2009.
Last reviewed November 2012 by Andrea Chisholm, MD
Last Updated: 11/26/2012