Endometrial Biopsy

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What is an endometrial biopsy?

The uterus (womb) is lined by a special type of tissue known as the endometrium. Endometrial biopsy, or endometrial sampling, is a technique of removing a piece of tissue from the inner lining of the uterus. The sample of tissue is analyzed under a microscope in the laboratory by a pathologist, a doctor with special training in diagnosis of diseases based upon tissue examination.

Why is endometrial biopsy done?

An endometrial biopsy is most often performed to help determine the cause of abnormal uterine bleeding. It can also be done to help evaluate the cause of infertility, test for uterine infections, and even monitor the response to certain medications.

Endometrial biopsy has many advantages over the more complicated procedure known as dilation and curettage (D&C), which is a more extensive removal of the uterine lining that requires dilation (stretching) of the cervical opening with special instruments. Unlike D&C, endometrial biopsy may be performed in the doctor's office and typically does not require anesthesia or hospitalization.

Endometrial biopsy cannot be performed during pregnancy, and sometimes may not be recommended when certain other conditions are present, including cancer of the cervix or abnormal narrowing (stenosis) of the cervical opening.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/14/2014

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