Hysteroscopy is the medical procedure during which the doctor inserts a small-diameter device into the uterus of the female to diagnose the abnormality causing certain complications. The device inserted inside has a light and a small camera on one of the ends that are inserted inside and lets the doctor see and examine the inside of the uterus.
There are a number of conditions in which the doctor may recommend the patient to undergo this procedure. Hysteroscopy can be used either for therapeutic or diagnostic procedures. There are two types of Hysteroscopies, diagnostic and therapeutic. Hysteroscopy may be performed for the following conditions:
- for confirmation of any other related test result
- to assist in the removal of fibroids or polyps
- with an ongoing laparoscopic procedure
- before the Dilation and Curettage procedure (D&C Procedure)
- to check for any malformation of the uterus
What is the procedure of hysteroscopy?
Before the procedure, the doctor may give the female a sedative to help her relax and remain comfortable during the procedure. The procedure takes place in the order mentioned below:
- The doctor firstly dilates the cervix to make space for the hysteroscope to be inserted.
- The hysteroscope is then inserted inside through the vagina and cervix and then into the uterus.
- After that, carbon dioxide gas or a liquid solution is inserted into the uterus through the hysteroscope. This is done with the purpose of expanding the uterus and clear away any blood or mucus inside the uterus.
- The doctor then firstly examines the uterus and openings of the fallopian tubes.
- In the end, if surgery is required, small surgical instruments are inserted inside the uterus through the hysteroscope to treat the condition.
The time taken to perform the hysteroscopy ranges from less than five minutes to more than one hour. The duration of the procedure depends if it is diagnostic or therapeutic. The time of the procedure can also vary if an additional procedure, like laparoscopy is to be performed at the same time. In general, however, diagnostic hysteroscopy takes less time than therapeutic.
For most diagnostic procedures, hysteroscopy can be performed in the doctor’s clinic itself with a local or general anesthesia. When the hysteroscopy is to be performed along with other procedures involving surgical means, it may be performed in a hospital. In such cases, the doctor uses a local or general anesthesia. The type of anesthesia to be used depends on the extent of the surgery that is to be performed.
Also Read: Advantages and disadvantages of hysterectomy or uterus removal
Recovery and Precautions post Hysteroscopy
The purpose of the hysteroscopy will regulate the time of the recovery period. However, there are some general factors that are common for any type of hysteroscopy procedure performed. The female may experience:
- Mild or severe cramps
- Mild bleeding or spotting for one or two days after the procedure
- The female may have shoulder pain if carbon dioxide gas was used during the procedure
- Mild nausea
- Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
The female would be able to eat or drink normally just after the procedure is performed. If the procedure has been carried out in the doctor’s clinic with just the local anesthesia, then the female will normally be able to go home in about an hour after the procedure. If the procedure requires local anesthesia, the doctor may want the patient to wait until the effects of the anesthesia have worn off before giving the discharge to the patient. This procedure may also take about an hour, but this can go longer, depending on what anesthesia has been used and also the amount of anesthesia used. If the procedure involves the use of general anesthesia, then the female will be able to return home after a few hours of the procedure. The doctor will suggest an overnight stay in the hospital to keep the female under observation if she has had a history of the case of reaction to anesthesia.
In some cases, the doctor may prescribe pain-relief medications to the female to make the recovery convenient. If any surgical procedure is involved, then the doctor may suggest the female rest for a day or two before resuming the normal lifestyle. It is suggested to follow the doctor’s instructions for a healthy recovery. For a hysteroscopy which is not only diagnostic, the female should refrain from sexual intercourse for about two weeks after the treatment. This would prevent and reduce the risks of infection.
When should hysteroscopy be carried out?
The doctor may recommend undergoing hysteroscopy after the first week after the patient’s period cycle. At this time, the doctor will be able to have the best view of the inside of the uterus. Hysteroscopy is also carried out in order to determine the reason behind unexplained bleeding or spotting in after menopause in women.
Who can undergo Hysteroscopy?
Even though there are many benefits linked to hysteroscopy, but, it may not be suggested to some patients. The doctor makes a proper examination of the patient to make sure if she is fit to undergo hysteroscopy or not.
The doctor may suggest the patient undergo hysteroscopy for various different reasons. These are cases where a minor surgery may be required for the long-term health and well-being of the female or for any surgical procedure required to treat a certain condition, complication or abnormality. The risks associated with a hysteroscopy procedure are rare and low, but should still, it is advised that the patient discusses it with the doctor before the procedure is performed. Recovery after the diagnostic or therapeutic hysteroscopy is simple and quick. There are generally no long term side effects or complications lasting for more than the first couple of days after the procedure.
About the Author:
Dr. Garima Sawhney
MBBS, M.S | Gynaecologist & Obstetrician, trained in Cosmetic & Aesthetic Gynaecology (ESAG), Specialist in Minimal Access Surgery