Doctor's Responses Archive

Viewer Question:

What is the role of the endometrial ablation procedure for women with abnormal heavy bleeding?

Doctor's Answer:

Endometrial ablation destroys the lining of the uterus. Medications are used prior to the procedure to increase the success of the procedure. Advantages of the procedure are that both hospital stay and recovery time are shorter than hysterectomy (removal of the entire uterus). Furthermore, there is no surgical incision required for endometrial ablation, because it can be performed using a hysteroscope instrument inserted through the vaginal canal. For these reasons, endometrial ablation is recommended increasingly frequently for women who have failed or refused medical therapies. However, performing endometrial ablation requires training and experience. Most women are quite satisfied after endometrial ablation, but sometimes additional procedures, such as repeat endometrial ablation or even hysterectomy, may be required. When a women is picking which procedure to pursue, she will have to juggle the risk of needing a repeat procedure in several years if she has endometrial ablation versus the risks of having hysterectomy (incision, longer recovery).

Thank you for your question.

Medical Author: Carolyn Janet Crandall, M.D.
Medical Editor: William Shiel, MD, FACP, FACR


Last Editorial Review: 3/7/2002