Hysteroscopy is a procedure performed by a gynecologist to inspect the insides of the uterine cavity using a thin tube with a light and camera attached to it. This device is called a hysteroscope. A hysteroscopy may be performed to diagnose pathologies in the uterus or a method for surgical treatment for uterine pathologies, this is called surgical or operative hysteroscopy.
Minor pain may be experienced during the procedure. Post-procedural pain and cramps are common and may need pain killers for management. If a hysterectomy is done to perform surgical procedures, intravenous sedation or general anesthesia would be administered; hence, there would be no pain during the procedure. Patients may experience pain and discomfort after the procedure once the anesthesia wears off.
Why is hysteroscopy done?
Hysteroscopy gives the doctor information about the patient’s reproductive health. It helps the doctor to closely study the reproductive organs of a woman for identifying abnormalities. A sample of abnormal tissues and lesions would usually be taken for testing; this procedure is called a biopsy. Sometimes an additional surgical procedure may be performed in certain conditions.
Hysteroscopy is indicated in the following:
- To confirm the diagnosis of conditions that are suspected based on clinical assessment and other radiological tests, such as endometriosis, uterine adhesions
- Abnormal Pap smear
- Heavy or prolonged menstrual bleeding
- Dysmenorrhea (severe pain and cramping during periods)
- Intermenstrual bleeding (bleeding between periods)
- More than one miscarriage (loss of pregnancy)
- Difficulty getting pregnant
- Bleeding after menopause
- To evaluate the uterus prior to performing an abortion
- To diagnose and aid in the removal of urine fibroids, uterine polyps, and uterus scarring
- To undergo surgery for permanent sterilization
- When the intrauterine contraceptive device (IUCD) displaces out of the uterus
How is hysteroscopy performed?
The anesthesia used in hysterectomy depends on whether the procedure is done for diagnosis or to perform a procedure. It is done when you are not in your menses. If the procedure is only performed for diagnostic purposes, no anesthesia is required. Anxious patients may receive intravenous sedation. If the procedure is performed to take a biopsy or to perform more invasive procedures, intravenous sedation or general anesthesia would be administered.
The doctor inserts the hysteroscopy device through the vagina, the cervix, and then into the uterus. A saline solution or carbon dioxide gas is passed into the uterus through the device to widen the uterus and make the diagnosis or perform surgical procedures easier. The procedure may take 5-30 minutes, depending on the purpose of the procedure.
The purpose for which the hysteroscopy was done determines the recovery period. If patients have not received anesthesia or just local anesthesia, they would be able to go home in 1-2 hours. Those who receive intravenous sedation or general anesthesia would have to stay in the hospital till they recover from the anesthesia, which may either take a few hours or up to 24 hours. Pain killers and antibiotics may be administered. After the procedure, the patients may experience the following:
What are the complications of hysteroscopy?
Hysteroscopy is a relatively safe procedure with minimal complications. Though complications are rare, like any procedure there are risks, which include:
- Injury to the cervix or the uterus
- Scarring of the uterus
- Reaction to the liquid used to clean the uterus
- Reaction to anesthesia
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Common Medical Abbreviations & Terms
Doctors, pharmacists, and other health-care professionals use abbreviations, acronyms, and other terminology for instructions and information in regard to a patient's health condition, prescription drugs they are to take, or medical procedures that have been ordered. There is no approved this list of common medical abbreviations, acronyms, and terminology used by doctors and other health- care professionals. You can use this list of medical abbreviations and acronyms written by our doctors the next time you can't understand what is on your prescription package, blood test results, or medical procedure orders. Examples include:
- ANED: Alive no evidence of disease. The patient arrived in the ER alive with no evidence of disease.
- ARF: Acute renal (kidney) failure
- cap: Capsule.
- CPAP: Continuous positive airway pressure. A treatment for sleep apnea.
- DJD: Degenerative joint disease. Another term for osteoarthritis.
- DM: Diabetes mellitus. Type 1 and type 2 diabetes
- HA: Headache
- IBD: Inflammatory bowel disease. A name for two disorders of the gastrointestinal (BI) tract, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis
- JT: Joint
- N/V: Nausea or vomiting.
- p.o.: By mouth. From the Latin terminology per os.
- q.i.d.: Four times daily. As in taking a medicine four times daily.
- RA: Rheumatoid arthritis
- SOB: Shortness of breath.
- T: Temperature. Temperature is recorded as part of the physical examination. It is one of the "vital signs."
Hysteroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure performed to diagnose and treat women's conditions, for example, abnormal vaginal bleeding, congenital abnormalities of the female genital tract, scarring from previous procedures, and removal of uterine fibroids or tumors.
Hysteroscopy may be recommended for evaluating a number of gynecological problems, including scarring, or adhesions, from previous uterine surgery or instrumentation such as dilation and curettage (D&C).
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