D&C and hysteroscopy (2024)

D&C and hysteroscopy are common minimally-invasive surgery procedures often used together to remove abnormal or unwanted tissue from inside of the uterus. D&C stands for dilation (sometimes called dilatation) and curettage and hysteroscopy is procedure that lets your doctor look inside your uterus to diagnose and/or treat uterine issues.

D&C and hysteroscopy (1)

D&C and hysteroscopy may be performed for many reasons, including the diagnosis, evaluation and treatment of conditions such as abnormal bleeding, polyps or certain types of fibroids that are found in the uterus.

What are common reasons for a D&C and hysteroscopy?

D&C and hysteroscopy may be used for the following:

  • Abnormal uterine bleeding such as heavy menstrual flow
  • Fibroids
  • Polyps
  • Uterine cancer
  • Removal of tissue after a miscarriage
  • Removal of placenta after childbirth
  • Termination of pregnancy

Done under general or local anesthesia, D&C and hysteroscopy can be performed either together or separately. These procedures may be a less invasive option for women who don’t choose or want to have a hysterectomy or partial hysterectomy.

If you think you might need a D&C and hysteroscopy, we recommend you talk with your healthcare practitioner to get more information and to make sure that this alternative is right for you. It’s good to ask a lot of questions so you and your practitioner can decide together how to proceed.

What is a D&C?

D&C is a medical treatment performed by a doctor who dilates a woman’s cervix and then inserts a thin instrument called a curette in order to scrape the endometrial lining from the uterus. The “D” is short for dilation (opening) of the cervix, while the “C” refers to curettage, or the scraping portion of the procedure.

Doctors may use a D&C to help them find the cause of an issue such as unusual bleeding. Some or all of the tissue is removed for laboratory evaluation, or to rule out abnormal cells or tissue development. Medication or medical instruments are used to dilate the cervix for this procedure.

D&C can be done without the use of the light and camera of a hysteroscope. D&C may be performed after a woman has a miscarriage in order to remove any remaining tissue from the uterus and to prevent infection. D&C is also used to remove the uterine contents and remaining tissue after an abortion.

The actual D&C may only take about 30 minutes, although it may require a stay of several hours in the doctor’s office, clinic or hospital for recovery after the procedure.

What is a hysteroscopy?

The hysteroscopy technique allows a gynecologist/surgeon to visually evaluate the lining of the uterus. This is done with a thin lighted tube and camera that is inserted through the vagin* up through the dilated cervix to the uterus.

Hysteroscopy can be used by itself to diagnose issues in the uterus. In addition, it can be used while a D&C or laparoscopy (surgical insertion of thin, lighted tube to find and diagnose uterine problems) procedure is being performed to help obtain more information about any issues with a woman’s uterus.

What happens after a D&C and hysteroscopy?

Most women who have a D&C and hysteroscopy will be able to go home the same day, although someone else will need to accompany and drive them. In the next few days, women may experience mild cramping or slight bleeding due to the procedure and the recovery that follows.

If you have a D&C and hysteroscopy, your doctor or other healthcare practitioner should:

  • Tell you what to expect and plan for ahead of time
  • Give you a list of care instructions
  • Alert you to any signs to watch for that indicating you need to be seen by a doctor, such as a high temperature or heavy bleeding.

Women who have a D&C may wonder if and when they will be able to become pregnant. Most women who have a D&C will not have any problems becoming pregnant, though this is something to be discussed with your doctor. Many practitioners suggest women wait until they have experience one normal menstrual period before they begin trying to become pregnant.

What are the risks of a D&C and hysteroscopy?

As with any surgical procedure, there are some risks with D&C and hysteroscopy, although complications do not occur often. Possible complications include bleeding, infection, scar tissue formation or damage to the uterus if it is perforated by the surgical instrument.

We encourage you to talk about these and any other risks that may be present due to your personal situation and health history with your doctor in preparation for the surgery and after. If you plan to have general anesthesia, immediate recovery may take a few hours longer.

The choice that’s right for you

D&C and hysteroscopy may be the best choice for you – or there may be other alternatives you want to consider. You can learn more about some of them our article

We believe that the most important thing to remember is that you are the best person to make the right choice for your body. As long as you have all the information you need, that’s the best approach for most surgical procedures.

D&C and hysteroscopy (2)
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D&C and hysteroscopy (2024)


Why would a doctor order a D&C with hysteroscopy? ›

D&C (Dilation and Curettage) with Hysteroscopy are procedures that are performed together, these procedures are used to: Diagnose or treat abnormal bleeding from the uterus, such as heavy or long menstrual periods or bleeding between periods Remove polyps or fibroid Find out whether a woman has cancer of the uterus.

How long does it take to recover from a D&C and hysteroscopy? ›

Please be prepared to discuss any medications that you are currently taking including name, dose, and frequency that you take them. Please alert your doctor of any allergies to latex and/or medications, including pain medications. Typical recovery time is 24-72 hours for a hysteroscopy or D&C.

Which is better, hysteroscopy or D&C? ›

While a hysteroscopy enables your provider to find growths and remove them with precise surgical instruments, a D&C allows your surgeon to sample greater amounts of tissue from your uterine lining by performing a gentle scraping.

How will I feel after a hysteroscopy and D&C? ›

After these procedures, you are likely to have a backache or cramps similar to menstrual cramps. Expect to pass small clots of blood from your vagin* for the first few days. You may have light vagin*l bleeding for several weeks after the D&C. If the doctor filled your uterus with air, your belly may feel full.

Are you put to sleep for a hysteroscopy at D&C? ›

The procedure takes about 10 to 30 minutes. If you are being treated for fibroids or polyps, a special hysteroscope with an electrical loop, known as a resectascope will be used to remove them. If you have a general anaesthetic, you will be asleep during the entire procedure.

Why am I being sent for a hysteroscopy? ›

A hysteroscopy can be used to: investigate symptoms or problems – such as heavy periods, unusual vagin*l bleeding, postmenopausal bleeding, pelvic pain, repeated miscarriages or difficulty getting pregnant. diagnose conditions – such as fibroids and polyps (non-cancerous growths in the womb)

Does your stomach swell after a hysteroscopy? ›

It is not uncommon to notice vagin*l spotting postoperatively, and some women may experience menstrual irregularity including a missed period over the next 6 weeks. For the next 1-2 days, you may also experience abdominal swelling, a sore throat, and occasional nausea.

How many days should I rest after D&C? ›

You will probably be able to go back to most of your normal activities in 1 or 2 days. This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for you to recover. But each person recovers at a different pace.

How long should you rest after hysteroscopy? ›

You will probably be able to go back to most of your normal activities in 1 or 2 days. This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for you to recover. But each person recovers at a different pace.

How painful is a hysteroscopy dilation and curettage? ›

You may have some low abdominal cramping and back pain at first. These often feel better quickly. You may have some cramps on and off for a few days. Take medicines as prescribed for pain.

What is the most common complication of hysteroscopy? ›

Bleeding and uterine perforation

Uterine perforation is one of the most common complications of operative hysteroscopy with an incidence of 0.8–1.5%. Uterine perforation can happen during cervical dilation or during insertion of the hysteroscope.

How long do hysteroscopy biopsy results take? ›

You usually get the results within 2 weeks. The doctor who arranged the biopsy will give them to you.

Does your body change after a D&C? ›

Because a D&C removes the lining of the uterus, the lining must build back up. Your next menstrual period may begin earlier or later than usual. You may resume your normal diet unless your doctor advises you differently.

How long does it take for uterine lining to rebuild after D&C? ›

The endometrium after D and C surgery may require 6 months to recover normal reproductive function, in terms of both live birth and PL. The extent of the damage to endometrial function is not found to be reflected in the endometrial thickness.

Why am I in so much pain after a hysteroscopy? ›

It's normal to have pain, similar to period pain, for a couple of days after a hysteroscopy. Taking paracetamol, ibuprofen or your usual period pain medicine should help. You may also have some bleeding, or spots of blood (spotting), for up to a week. Use sanitary pads not tampons.

What is the purpose of hysteroscopy dilation and curettage? ›

Dilation and curettage (D&C) is a procedure to remove tissue from inside your uterus. Health care professionals perform dilation and curettage to diagnose and treat certain uterine conditions — such as heavy bleeding — or to clear the uterine lining after a miscarriage or abortion.

What does a hysteroscopy rule out? ›

Diagnostic hysteroscopy can be used to diagnosis the cause of abnormal uterine bleeding, to perform a biopsy, or to check for cancerous growth. During the procedure, polyps or samples of the lining of the uterus can be obtained.


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