Hysteroscopy: This is a surgical procedure in which a lighted telescope-like instrument (hysteroscope) is passed through the cervix to view the inside of the uterus. Hysteroscopy can help diagnose and treat abnormalities inside the uterine cavity such as polyps, fibroids, and adhesions (scar tissue).
Before the Procedure
Always tell your health care provider or nurse what drugs you are taking, even drugs, supplements, or herbs you bought without a prescription.
During the days before the surgery:
- You may be asked to stop taking aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), warfarin (Coumadin), and any other drugs that make it hard for your blood to clot.
- Ask your health care provider which drugs you should still take on the day of your surgery.
On the day of your surgery:
- You very often will be asked not to drink or eat anything for 6 – 12 hours before the surgery.
- Take the drugs your health care provider told you to take with a small sip of water. Your health care provider or nurse will tell you when to arrive at the hospital.
A Hysteroscopy is usually done by your gynecologist in the operating room of a hospital or surgery center. Most women go home the same day. In some cases, the hysteroscopy can be done in your doctor’s office.
You may be given medicine (anesthesia) to help you relax, to numb the area, or to help you sleep.
You will take off all of your clothes and wear a gown for the test. You will empty your bladder before the test. You will then lie on your back on an examination table with your feet raised and supported by footrests (stirrups).
Your doctor will insert a lubricated tool called a speculum into your vagina. The speculum gently spreads apart the vaginal walls so your doctor can see inside the vagina and the cervix. Your vagina will be cleaned with a special soap.
The hysteroscope will be placed at the entrance to your vagina and gently moved through the cervix into your uterus. A gas or liquid will be put through the hysteroscope into your uterus to help your doctor see the lining clearly. Your doctor looks through the hysteroscope at a magnified view of the lining of your uterus. Your doctor can also see the uterine openings of the fallopian tubes. A video screen may be used during the test.
If a biopsy or other procedure is done, your doctor will use small tools through the hysteroscope. A hysteroscopy takes about 30 minutes, unless other procedures are being done.
After a Hysteroscopy Procedure
Right after the test, you will be taken to a recovery area where nurses will care for and observe you. Usually you will stay in the recovery area for 1 to 4 hours, and then you will be moved to a hospital room or you will go home. In addition to any special instructions from your doctor, your nurse will explain information to help you in your recovery. You will likely go home with a sheet of care instructions and who to call if you have any problems.
It is normal to have a small amount of vaginal bleeding for a day or so after a hysteroscopy. You also may have some mild belly pain if a gas was used during the test. This should go away in 24 hours. You can take acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) to relieve the pain.
Follow any instructions your doctor gave you. Call your doctor if you have:
- Heavy vaginal bleeding or discharge (more than a normal menstrual period).
- A fever or Chills
- Severe belly or pelvic pain or cramping.
- Problems urinating.
- Shortness of breath.
Risks of the procedure
Hysteroscopy is a low-risk procedure. Most women who undergo this procedure have no serious problems or complications from the procedure. However, as with any procedure, complications can result for a small minority of women. Those complications include:
- Bleeding, blood clots, and hemorrhage
- Injury to surrounding organs (very uncommon)
- If gas is used, you have a small risk for an air bubble (air embolism) in a blood vessel, though this is very rare.