Hysteroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure which allows visualization of the inside of the uterus, including the openings to the Fallopian tubes, as well as direct examination of the cervix, cervical canal, and vagina.
It is done for diagnosis and for treatment. With hysteroscopy, a doctor can evaluate or treat abnormalities of the uterus or cervix.
It can be recommended for a number of gynecological problems, like polyps or fibroid tumors inside the cervical canal or inside the uterine cavity, abnormal vaginal bleeding, congenital (inborn) anatomical abnormalities of the female genital tract, retained placenta or products of conception after a birth or miscarriage and scarring, or adhesions, from previous uterine surgery or instrumentation such as dilation and curettage (D&C).
Also, it can be used to perform surgical sterilization but it is not suitable for evaluating problems within the muscular wall or on the outer surface of the uterus since hysteroscopy examines the lining and interior of the uterus.
A procedure cannot be performed if a woman is pregnant or has an active pelvic infection and it is not recommended if a woman has uterine or cervical cancer. Sometimes the abnormal position of the uterus or other certain condition can make hysteroscopy more difficult or impossible to perform.
The procedure can be performed in an outpatient surgery center or in a hospital operating room with a different kind of anesthesia. There are several types and sizes of hysteroscopes available because it depends on upon the type of procedure that is required.
During the procedure, a vaginal speculum is often inserted prior to the procedure to facilitate insertion of the hysteroscope through the uterine cavity and sometimes, depending upon the exact type of hysteroscope that is used, dilation of the cervical opening with prostaglandin medications and/or surgical instruments may be necessary.
After insertion of the hysteroscope, fluid or gas is injected to distend the uterine cavity and allow for better visualization.
After procedure acetaminophen (Tylenol and others) and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications are generally recommended to control any pain or cramping that may occur. Also, it is expected to experience light vaginal bleeding.
Complications are rare but they can include:
- Perforation of the uterus
- Damage to the urinary or digestive tract
- Medical complications resulting from reactions to drugs or anesthetic agents