Exam Overview

Hysteroscopy is a diagnostic and surgical
procedure that makes examining the inside of the
uterus possible without making an abdominal cut
(incision). During hysteroscopy, a lighted viewing instrument called a
hysteroscope is inserted through the
vagina and
cervix and into the uterus. Treatment can also be done
through the hysteroscope during the same procedure.

Hysteroscopy
usually takes 30 to 45 minutes. It is done as an outpatient procedure.
General anesthesia is usually used, although
local or
spinal anesthesia can be used instead. You should not
eat or drink for at least 4 to 8 hours before having the test. A
gynecologist or
surgeon does the procedure.

The
uterus is filled with a fluid, such as normal saline or glycine. The
hysteroscope is inserted through the cervix into the uterus so the inner
surface of the uterus can be examined. Hysteroscopy can locate the cause of
bleeding for many women.

Why It Is Done

Hysteroscopy is used both to diagnose
and treat abnormal vaginal bleeding. If areas of bleeding are found during the
procedure, the tissue may be destroyed by laser beam or electric current
(electrocautery) or surgically removed at the same time.

Hysteroscopy is done to:

  • Locate and evaluate the cause of uterine
    bleeding, such as
    uterine fibroids, when blood loss is
    severe.
  • Confirm a diagnosis before the start of treatment with
    medicines that have significant side effects, such as danazol or a
    gonadotropin-releasing hormone analogue (GnRH-a).

Results

Results of hysteroscopy may include the
following.

Normal

No abnormalities are found.

Abnormal

Abnormal tissue growths, uterine fibroids, areas of
active bleeding, or scar tissue is found in the uterus.

What To Think About

Hysteroscopy may be used to
find out the cause of undiagnosed uterine bleeding before the start of treatment
with medicines or surgery. It is important to find the cause of the bleeding
before starting treatment with medicines that have significant side effects,
such as danazol or a GnRH-a.

Hysteroscopy may be used both to
diagnose and treat fibroids, which can cause heavy vaginal bleeding.

A hysteroscopy can cause injury to
the uterus or cervix, an infection, or bleeding. In rare cases, the uterus,
bladder, or bowel can be punctured during the test. Then surgical repair would be required.

If general anesthesia is used, there is a small risk of problems from the
anesthesia.

The safe and effective use of a
hysteroscope requires specialized training by the doctor.

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Related Information

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Sarah Marshall, MD – Family Medicine
Martin J. Gabica, MD – Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito, MD – Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Divya Gupta, MD – Obstetrics and Gynecology, Gynecologic Oncology

Current as ofOctober 6, 2017