What is hysteroscopy?

doctorHysteroscopy is a procedure that permits a doctor to view the inside of a woman’s uterus.  A hysteroscope is a thin instrument with a light and camera attached to its end.  It is inserted into the vagina, through the cervix into the uterus and, among other things, can investigate the cause of problems such as repeat miscarriage or infertility.  These problems can include abnormal bleeding; the shape of the uterus; the presence of scar tissue, non-cancerous growths like small fibroids or polyps; the blockage of one or both fallopian tubes.  In many cases, other small instruments can be inserted during a hysteroscopy to remove a blockage, polyp or fibroid and correct the problem.

This procedure usually is performed by a gynecologist in the operating room of a hospital or surgery center. A sedative to help her relax and a local, regional or sometimes general anesthesia usually is given, and most women go home in the same day. In some cases, the hysteroscopy can be done in your doctor’s office.

A gas or fluid is inserted into the uterus through the hysteroscope to help the doctor obtain as clear a picture of the uterus as possible. The image from the camera is projected on a screen for easy viewing. The process takes about 30 minutes, unless corrective procedures or a biopsy of the uterine lining are required which can take a little longer.  A woman may experience some light spotting, cramping and gas pains for a day or so afterward.

A woman who is pregnant, has a vaginal or urinary tract infection, or is known to have cancer of the uterus should not have a hysteroscopy.  This is a safe procedure but some risks do exist, so any woman offered hysteroscopy should discuss the benefits and risks of the procedure with her doctor.

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