Healthy Heart

What are the Side Effects of an Ablation?

What are the Side Effects of an Ablation?

Ablations surgery side effects usually depend on the form of ablation procedure being performed. Cardiac ablations, thermal ablations, and endometrial ablations are among the common surgeries. There are particular side effects linked with every procedure. Examples of side effects are bruising, cramping, and blood clots. As with all procedures pain, infection, redness in the surgical area, and cramping can all be shared side effects.          

Due to the less intrusive nature of ablation procedures, the rate of surgeries keeps increasing. Because of the many side effects of more lengthy surgeries, ablations will be performed instead, i.e. endometrial ablations will be performed instead of a hysterectomy. Ablation surgery recovery time is less than with an invasive procedure.         

During endometrial ablation surgery, the uterus endometrial layer is removed. Common side effects include frequent urination, menstrual-style cramping, and vaginal discharge. Bowel problems and uterine perforation could also be experienced by patients, but in rare cases. Any severe abdominal cramping, lower back discomfort, or bleeding may be a sign of serious complications and must be addressed by your surgeon.     

Cardiac ablations eliminate atypical cardiac tissues that may be causing the patient to get heart related arrhythmias. Patients could experience shared ablation side effects of the cardiac tissue, i.e. perforation of cardiac muscle and pulmonary vein stenosis comprising the heart’s veins and walls. Chest pain, coughing up blood, or shortness of breath may be signs of more serious complications and must be addressed by your surgeon. 

Thermal ablations are a surgical procedure to eliminate varicose veins in the patient's legs. The usual side effects are bruising, pain, and blood clots. Some patients may feel weary after the surgery. A less-usual side effect is numbness alongside the shins.    

Although very rare, nerve damage and stroke have been reported as side effects which are linked to ablation surgeries. Research has shown that most people can be great applicants for ablations. Individuals with a blood clot condition, food allergies, or active and repeated infections may discuss with their surgeons the dangers and benefits linked with ablation surgery.


Cardiac ablation side effects

Although cardiac ablation is a less intrusive procedure, certain side effects are still there that one should be aware of. It is vital to understand the dangers before going through the procedure. Speak with your surgeon to understand better the dangers and what you may anticipate from treatment.       

Cardiac ablation side effects:

  • Nerve damage (injury to the phrenic nerves or vagus)
  • Blood clots
  • Damage to your artery where catheter insertion is made
  • Damage to coronary arteries and heart valves
  • Fluid around the heart
  • Esophageal atrial fistula
  • Heart attack
  • The procedure might not work
  • Pacemaker necessity


Endometrial ablation procedure


Endometrial ablation overview

An endometrial ablation procedure ablates (destroys) your uterine lining (endometrium). This procedure treats atypical uterine bleeding. Occasionally a lighted inspecting instrument (hysteroscope) aids to view inside your uterus. Endometrial ablations should be carried out using:

  • Heat ablation by use of:
    • Radiofrequency.
    • A balloon full of saline solution which is heated to 185°F (85°C) also known as thermal balloon ablation.
    • Normal saline.
  • Electricity by use of a resectoscope that has a loop.
  • Microwave
  • Freezing.
  • Laser beam

The uterine lining heals through scarring, that usually minimizes or inhibits uterine bleeding.

Endometrial ablations can be carried out at the doctor’s office or at an outpatient center. The procedure might last for 45 minutes. It can be carried out using a spinal or local anesthesia. General anesthesia can sometimes be used.

What to anticipate after surgery

After your surgery, you might experience various side effects, i.e. nausea, cramping, and vaginal discharge that can be watery with blood. This discharge shall become clear in a few days and might last for about 1 - 2 weeks.

You may recover within 2 weeks. You can go home on the day after your surgery.


Why it is undertaken

Endometrial ablation is helps to regulate heavy, lengthy vaginal bleeding, if:

  • Bleeding does not react to alternative cures.
  • Childbearing is over.
  • You don’t prefer to undergo a hysterectomy to regulate bleeding.
  • Other health issues inhibit a hysterectomy.


How well do ablations work

A large number of women have decreased menstrual flow after an endometrial ablation. Half of these women cease getting periods.

Older women will respond better to the procedure than younger women. After the procedure younger women will most likely continue having periods and will require another endometrial ablation.   

Young women can be cured by gonadotropin-releasing hormone analogues / GnRH-As, 1 - 3 months preceding the procedure. This will minimize their estrogen production and aid in thinning the endometrium.

Transcatheter ablations

The transcatheter approach is a radiofrequency ablation performed on the targeted area through a catheter. Latest advances now enable therapeutic ablations by means of a transcatheter approach. This procedure uses an electrode catheter injected through the blood vessel at the electrophysiologic. A patient can be treated of tachycardia using ablative therapy. Therefore, antiarrhythmic medicine is not required anymore. Transcatheter ablations have rapidly become the treatment option for lots of supraventricular tachycardias.

Catheter ablations

Radiofrequency energy (same as microwave heat) is used in this procedure. It destroys a small portion of the heart muscles which cause quick and uneven heartbeats. Destroying these muscles helps reinstate the heart’s consistent rhythm. The procedure can also be referred to as a radiofrequency ablation.


Quick facts

Catheter ablations treat irregular heart rhythms / arrhythmias, when drugs are not effective or tolerated.

  • Drugs help to maintain your abnormal heart muscles which causes arrhythmias. Catheter ablation destroys your muscles.
  • Catheter ablation procedure has no risks and is successful in most individuals that have it.
  • This procedure is done at special hospital rooms (electrophysiology lab) or in cardiac catheterization lab. It takes two to four hours.


Why people undergo catheter ablations?

Exceptional cells in the heart generate electrical signals which travel in channels to chambers of the heart. These electrical signals make your heart's lower and upper chambers vibrate in the appropriate sequence. Abnormal cells can create unsystematic electrical signals which cause quick or uneven heartbeats known as arrhythmias. When this occurs, the heart might fail to pump blood as required and you might feel weak, faint, or short of breath. You can also feel the heart pounding.
Drugs to treat quick and uneven heartbeats work tremendously well for many people. However, drugs don’t work on everyone. They might cause side effects in some people. When these happen, doctors can recommend catheter ablations. This procedure often treats a condition known as supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) that occurs due to strangem conduction fibers in your heart. Catheter ablations can help maintain certain heart rhythm issue, i.e. atrial fibrillation and atrial flutter. Catheter ablations do away with the abnormal muscles without injuring other parts of your heart.

Catheter ablation risks

There are some threats involved in this procedure. Some common issues result from using catheters (long, tinny tubes surgeons insert into the veins or arteries). Inserting these tubes may occasionally injure the blood vessel and cause infection or bleeding. These problems are normally rare. 
“Every now and then, within a week, I would find myself in an emergency department with SVT. I felt terrible and the drugs wouldn’t work. After having a catheter ablation, I now go to the office and workout without STV,” says a patient.

Before going ahead with the catheter ablation, it’s wise to discuss all the facts with your doctor.

Key Takeaways

  • During endometrial ablation surgery, the uterus endometrial layer is removed
  • Although very rare, nerve damage and stroke have been reported as side effects which are linked to ablation surgeries
  • After your surgery, you might experience various side effects, i.e. nausea, cramping, and vaginal discharge that can be watery with blood