Hysteroscopy is done with a thin telescope that is inserted through the cervix -- the opening at the lower end of the uterus -- into the uterus. This telescope is called a hysteroscope. The hysteroscope is attached to a video camera and lights so the doctor can see as he or she works. Some types of hysteroscopes are designed so that tiny instruments can be placed inside the scope to remove tissue samples for biopsies or to remove fibroids or tumors.
Hysteroscopy can be used to diagnose a condition of the uterus or to treat it. Hysteroscopy can be used to treat fibroids (myomas), polyps in the uterus, abnormal bleeding, uterine malformations and other gynecologic conditions.
How Hysteroscopy is Performed
The doctor will numb the cervix before inserting the hysteroscope into the uterus. The uterus is then filled with a liquid such as saline solution so the doctor can see inside. This may cause minor cramping.
If hysteroscopy is done to try to find the cause of a problem, the doctor will observe the inside of the uterus. The physician may take a sample of tissue from the wall of the uterus. This sample is then examined under a microscope (a biopsy).
The procedure is usually only mildly uncomfortable. Simple procedures done with a hysteroscope can be done in the doctor's office. A woman can usually return to her normal activities as soon as the procedure is finished. More complicated hysteroscopies are done in an operating room.
Sometimes a type of hysteroscope called a resectoscope is used for treatment of gynecological conditions. The resectoscope is designed with a wire loop attached. The loop uses high-frequency electrical current to cut or coagulate tissue. This allows the doctor to remove polyps or fibroids, or to perform other procedures.
The Benefits of Hysteroscopy
With hysteroscopy, surgery is done from within the uterus. There is no need to cut through the muscles of the abdomen or to cut through the uterus itself. There is less pain and little external scarring. Because the body is not exposed to the outside world as it is in traditional surgery, there is less risk of infection or other complications. Healing after a hysteroscopy is usually much faster and involves less pain than with traditional surgery on the uterus.
Gynecologic Conditions That Can Be Diagnosed or Treated with Hysteroscopic Surgery
At the Center for Minimally Invasive Gynecological Surgery, hysteroscopy is used to diagnose or treat certain conditions such as:
- Abnormal uterine bleeding
- Causes of repeated miscarriages
- Structural abnormalities of the uterus