- What Is It?
- Why Is It Done?
- Why Not Have It
The recovery from dilation and curettage (D&C) depends on the type of procedure and type of anesthesia administered. After the surgery, you will be made to rest for about 2-5 hours before going home.
Generally, it may take 2-3 days for complete recovery. You can resume your daily routine within 1-2 days after the procedure. Although you may be instructed not to douche, use tampons, or engage in sexual activities for 2-3 days or a period recommended by the physician after the D&C.
You may observe spotting or vaginal bleeding for a few days, so using a sanitary napkin is preferable. Avoid using tampons because it may increase the chances of infections. You may experience cramping for the first few days.
As the D&C involves the removal of the uterus lining, the menstrual cycle may delay or occur early, depending on how fast the line builds up.
What is a D&C procedure?
D&C or dilation and curettage is a surgical procedure that involves the expansion of the cervical opening to remove the uterine lining (endometrium) with a spoon-shaped instrument known as a curette. D&C is mainly done to identify the cause of abnormal uterine bleeding.
Other related procedures used for diagnosing and treating endometrial issue include:
Why is D&C performed?
D&C may be indicated:
What are the reasons not to have a D&C?
Some of the reasons to avoid D&C include:
- Women unfit for surgery
- Arthritis (in this condition, the woman cannot move their legs apart)
- Pregnancy unless it is an unwanted one
How to prepare for a D&C procedure?
For a D&C procedure, you must follow these instructions:
- The physician might obtain your consent before the procedure
- Inform the physician about your current medications
- Eat light meals the evening before the surgery
- Do not eat or drink anything after midnight before the procedure day
- You might be given an enema on the previous night
- Stop taking aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve), clopidogrel (Plavix), and other blood thinners or any other herbal supplement
- Ask the doctor about the drugs that you can continue till the day of surgery
- Inform about any bleeding disorders or other medical conditions
- Avoid smoking to help you recover quickly
How is a D&C procedure performed?
D&C mostly follows this process:
- You will be positioned on an operating table.
- A urinary catheter may be placed before entering the operating room.
- An IV catheter will be started in the arm or hand.
- The hair around the surgical site may be shaved. The cervix will be cleaned with an antiseptic solution.
- You may get regional anesthesia, either an epidural or spinal block to numb you from the waist down.
- The doctor uses a type of forceps, called a tenaculum, to hold the cervix throughout the procedure.
- For dilation or opening of the cervix, the doctor may either insert slender rods (laminaria) into the cervix or use medication beforehand to soften and widen the cervix.
- Each rod will be wider than the previous one. This helps to gradually open the cervix or mouth of the uterus.
- Once the cervix is opened to a suitable size, the doctor inserts curette to reach the uterus.
- Next, the doctor scrapes the endometrium or the uterine lining, which will be removed by suction.
- A hysteroscopy may help the physician to view the uterus as the procedure progresses.
- The collected samples are sent for further investigation.
What are the complications of D&C?
The complications of D&C includes:
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