Endometrial ablation is the destruction of the lining of the uterus. It may involve using heat, cold temperatures, microwave energy, or other methods.
Endometrial ablation is used to treat regular heavy periods that cannot be controlled with medicine. It should make menstrual flow lighter. In some cases, it stops menstrual flow completely.
This procedure should not be done if you plan to become pregnant in the future.
Complications are rare, but no procedure is completely free of risk. The doctor will review a list of possible problems, which may include:
The risk of new or worsening pain may be higher if there is a history of painful periods or tubal sterilization.
Some things can increase the chance of problems such as:
The following may also increase the risk of problems:
Previous test results will be reviewed. The doctor will likely ask about current pregnancy or plans for pregnancy. They will also ask if there is a current intrauterine device (IUD).
The type of ablation will be reviewed. The care team may also request:
Anesthesia options for ablation may include:
The doctor will talk to you about which may be best for your procedure.
There are many different ways for the doctor to do this procedure. A simple ablation procedure is short. It can sometimes be done in an office or care center. Other procedures take longer and need to be done in a hospital. An ultrasound may be done at the same time to help guide the probe.
A small probe will be inserted through the vagina. It will be passed into the uterus through the cervix. The tip of the probe will deliver on of the following:
All methods will destroy the cells lining the uterine cavity. You will not feel pain. Damaged tissue may be removed with suction.
This depends on the type of method. It can take 15 to 45 minutes or longer.
Cramping and some discomfort is common after surgery. Pain medicine can help to manage it.
Your doctor will ask you how you feel. You will be able to leave when you feel ready.
Most can return to normal activity within a few days. Some more intense activity may need to be delayed.
After you leave the hospital, call 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
American Society for Reproductive Medicine
Canadian Women’s Health Network
Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada
Endometrial ablation. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T474319/Endometrial-ablation. Updated October 1, 2015. Accessed March 19, 2020.
Endometrial ablation. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Practice bulletin. No. 81, May 2007. Obstet Gynecol. 2007 May;109(5):1233-48.
Endometrial ablation. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists website. Available at: http://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Endometrial-Ablation. Published July 2017. Accessed March 19, 2020.
Heavy menstrual bleeding. National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence website. Available at: http://www.nice.org.uk/nicemedia/pdf/CG44NICEGuideline.pdf. Updated August 2016. Accessed March 19, 2020.
Lethaby A, Hickey M, et al. Endometrial destruction techniques for heavy menstrual bleeding. Cochrane Collection website. Available at: http://www.cochrane.org/reviews/en/ab001501.html. Published August 23, 2013. Accessed March 19, 2020.
4/6/2015 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillancehttp://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115612/Uterine-leiomyoma: Wishall KM, Price J, Pereira N, Butts SM, Della Badia CR. Postablation risk factors for pain and subsequent hysterectomy. Obstet Gynecol. 2014 Nov; 124(5):904-910.
Last reviewed September 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Mary-Beth Seymour, RN Last Updated: 9/18/2020