Dilation and curettage (D&C) is a procedure to remove tissue from inside your uterus. We perform dilation and curettage to diagnose and treat certain uterine conditions such as heavy bleeding or to clear the uterine lining after a miscarriage or abortion. Dilation and curettage can diagnose or treat a uterine condition.
We might recommend a type of D&C called endometrial sampling to diagnose a condition if: You have abnormal uterine bleeding, you experience bleeding after menopause or if we discover abnormal endometrial cells during a routine test for cervical cancer
To perform the test, we may collect a tissue sample from the lining of your uterus (endometrium) and sends the sample to a lab for testing. The test can check for: Endometrial hyperplasia, Uterine polyps, Uterine cancer etc.,
When performing a therapeutic D&C, we may remove the contents from inside your uterus, not just a small tissue sample. Clear out tissues that remain in the uterus after a miscarriage or abortion to prevent infection or heavy bleeding. It is usually done under ultrasound guidance.
Remove a molar pregnancy, in which a tumour forms instead of a normal pregnancy Treat excessive bleeding after delivery by clearing out any placenta that remains in the uterus.
Remove cervical or uterine polyps, which are usually noncancerous (benign), usually done under hysteroscopy guidance.
During hysteroscopy we then view the lining of your uterus on a screen, noting any areas that look abnormal, making sure there aren't any polyps and taking tissue samples as needed. During a hysteroscopy, your doctor can also remove uterine polyps and fibroid tumours.
- Dilation and curettage is usually very safe, and complications are rare. However, there are risks. These include:
- Perforation of the uterus.
- Damage to the cervix
- Scar tissue on the uterine wall
- Bleeding that's heavy enough that you need to change pads every hour
- Cramps lasting more than 48 hours
- Pain that gets worse instead of better
- Foul-smelling discharge from the vagina
For dilation and curettage, you'll receive anesthesia. The choice of anesthesia depends on the reason for the D&C and your medical history. General anesthesia makes you unconscious and unable to feel pain. Other forms of anesthesia provide light sedation or use injections to numb only a small area (local anesthesia) or a larger region (regional anesthesia) of your body.
After the procedure
You may spend a few hours in a recovery room after the D&C so that we can monitor you for heavy bleeding or other complications. This also gives you time to recover from the effects of anesthesia.
If you had general anesthesia, you may become nauseated or vomit, or you might have a sore throat if a tube was placed in your windpipe to help you breathe. With general anesthesia or light sedation, you may also feel drowsy for several hours. Normal side effects of a D&C may last a few days and include:
- Mild cramping
- Spotting or light bleeding
- You should be able to resume your normal activities within a day or two.
- Your uterus must build a new lining after a D&C, so your next period may not come on time.
- If you had a D&C because of a miscarriage, and you want to become pregnant, we will tell you about when it's safe to start trying again.