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Endometrial Biopsy

(Biopsy, Endometrial)

Click here to view an animated version of this procedure.

 

Definition    TOP

This is a procedure to remove a tissue sample from the lining of the uterus (womb).

The Endometrium

nucleus factsheet image

Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

 

Reasons for Procedure    TOP

An endometrial biopsy may be done to:

  • Evaluate the cause of bleeding in postmenopausal women
  • Evaluate heavy menstrual bleeding or bleeding between menstrual periods
  • Obtain a tissue sample to test for cancer or precancerous conditions
  • Monitor the uterine lining in women on estrogen replacement therapy
  • Help evaluate the cause of infertility or repeated miscarriages
 

Possible Complications    TOP

If you are planning to have an endometrial biopsy, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:

  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Damage to the uterus (rare)

Factors that may increase the risk of complications include:

Be sure to discuss these risks with your doctor before the procedure. If you are pregnant, the test cannot be done.

 

What to Expect    TOP

Prior to Procedure

You may need to schedule the biopsy for a certain time during your menstrual cycle.

Your doctor may do the following:

  • Physical and pelvic exam
  • Blood tests
  • Urine test

Leading up to your procedure, you may be advised to:

  • Take a pain reliever one hour before the procedure
  • Wear or bring a sanitary pad

Anesthesia

Usually none is needed. Sometimes local anesthesia is used to numb the cervix.

Description of the Procedure    TOP

A speculum will be used to look into the vagina. An instrument called a tenaculum will be used to grasp the cervix. A flexible, thin, suction tube will be passed through the vagina and into the uterus. A small sample of endometrial tissue will be suctioned out.

Immediately After Procedure    TOP

After the biopsy, you may feel lightheaded. Lying down for 5-10 minutes will help. When you feel better, you will be able to go home.

How Long Will It Take?    TOP

About 10-15 minutes

Will It Hurt?    TOP

You may feel some cramping and pressure during the biopsy. Your doctor may give you pain medication after the procedure.

Post-procedure Care    TOP

When you return home after the procedure, do the following to help ensure a smooth recovery:

  • Expect some cramping and bleeding. Use sanitary napkins. Do not use tampons.
  • Ask your doctor when you can resume:
    • Using tampons
    • Having sex
  • Be sure to follow your doctor's instructions.

Your doctor will receive results in about a week. She will work with you to create a treatment plan.

 

Call Your Doctor    TOP

After arriving home, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:

  • Excessive bleeding (more than your normal menstrual period or saturating a pad within 1 hour)
  • Signs of infection, including fever and chills
  • Severe pain
  • Foul-smelling vaginal discharge
  • Nausea and/or vomiting

If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.

RESOURCES:

American Cancer Society
http://www.cancer.org

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
http://www.acog.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Health Canada
https://www.canada.ca

Women's Health Matters
http://www.womenshealthmatters.ca

REFERENCES:

Abnormal uterine bleeding. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated May 2017. Accessed December 13, 2017.

Endometrial cancer. American Cancer Society website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Accessed December 13, 2017.

6/2/2011 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance https://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T905141/Treatment-for-tobacco-use : Mills E, Eyawo O, Lockhart I, Kelly S, Wu P, Ebbert JO. Smoking cessation reduces postoperative complications: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Med. 2011;124(2):144-154.e8.



Last reviewed November 2018 by Beverly Siegal, MD, FACOG
Last Updated: 12/20/2014

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