What is a hysteroscopy?
A hysteroscopy is a medical procedure used to examine the inside of the uterus (womb) by inserting a thin, flexible tube called a hysteroscope through the vagina and cervix. The hysteroscope contains a high resolution camera that allows the doctor to see the lining of the uterus on a screen. It gives a complete picture of the anatomy and physiology of the uterus, as well as the confirmation of anatomical or inflammatory problems.
During a hysteroscopy, the doctor may also perform various procedures such as taking a biopsy (a small sample of tissue) for testing, removing polyps or fibroids (non-cancerous growths), or placing small devices such as contraceptive devices or IUDs.
Hysteroscopy can be done for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes and is usually performed as an outpatient procedure using local anesthesia or conscious sedation. It is generally considered a safe and minimally invasive procedure with few risks or complications.
What are the two main types of hysteroscopy?
There are two main types of hysteroscopy: diagnostic hysteroscopy and operative hysteroscopy.
This type of hysteroscopy is used to examine the inside of the uterus for any abnormalities. A thin, flexible telescope called a hysteroscope is inserted through the vagina and cervix into the uterus, allowing the doctor to see the uterine lining and look for any growths, polyps, fibroids, adhesions or other abnormalities.
This type of hysteroscopy is used to perform surgical procedures inside the uterus. It involves using a hysteroscope equipped with instruments to remove or destroy abnormal tissue, such as polyps or fibroids, or to repair structural issues such as uterine septums or adhesions.
Both types of hysteroscopy are typically performed under local or general anesthesia, depending on the individual case.
Why might a hysteroscopy be performed?
Hysteroscopy is a procedure used to diagnose and treat a variety of conditions affecting the uterus. Here are some common reasons why hysteroscopies are done:
- Abnormal uterine bleeding: Hysteroscopy can be used to investigate the cause of heavy, prolonged, or irregular periods, or bleeding between periods.
- Infertility: Hysteroscopy can help identify structural abnormalities in the uterus that may be contributing to difficulty getting pregnant or recurrent miscarriages.
- Polyps, fibroids, or adhesions: Hysteroscopy can be used to remove or treat these growths or scar tissue in the uterus that may be causing abnormal bleeding or infertility.
- Uterine septum: A hysteroscopy can be used to diagnose and treat a uterine septum, which is a congenital condition where a wall divides the uterus.
- Intrauterine device (IUD) placement: Hysteroscopy can be used to ensure proper placement of an IUD or to remove a misplaced IUD.
- Cancer or pre-cancerous conditions: Hysteroscopy can be used to biopsy or remove abnormal tissue in the uterus that may be cancerous or pre-cancerous.
Overall, hysteroscopy is a useful tool for diagnosing and treating a variety of conditions affecting the uterus, and can often be done on an outpatient basis with minimal downtime.