A hysteroscopy is a procedure used to examine the inside of the uterus using a thin telescope with a video camera and light, called a hysteroscope. It is often associated with the diagnosis and treatment of abnormal bleeding, finding the reason for a miscarriage, diagnosing cancer and identifying growths in the womb. Hysteroscopy could be done for diagnostic or operative reasons.
Diagnostic hysteroscopy is used to diagnose problems that may arise in the uterus. Diagnostic hysteroscopy helps gynaecologists and obstetricians to confirm the results of other tests such as hysterosalpingography.
Operative hysteroscopy is used to correct an abnormal condition that diagnostic hysteroscopy has detected. Operative hysteroscopy can be performed after or during a diagnostic hysteroscopy. During operative hysteroscopy, small surgical instruments are used to correct the condition; the instruments are inserted through the hysteroscope.
Hysteroscopy may be performed under local anaesthesia that will numb the area to block pain, or you may be offered general anaesthesia meaning you will sleep during the whole process. The doctor inserts the hysteroscope through the vagina and into the womb. Saline is passed through the hysteroscope to expand the womb for ease of seeing. An examination is done that may require samples to be taken.
A hysteroscopy procedure is usually short, requiring 10 – 30 minutes of your time. It is a safe procedure, with only rare cases of complications. However, no procedure is risk-free. Possible complications of hysteroscopy may include infections, damage to the nearby organs such as the bladder, reaction to the anaesthesia, bowel or the ovaries, pelvic inflammatory disease, or tearing or damage to the cervix.
A hysteroscopy takes between five and 30 minutes to complete.
The day after a hysteroscopy, most women believe they can resume normal activities, including work.
Heavy periods, atypical vaginal bleeding, postmenopausal bleeding, pelvic pain, recurring miscarriages, or difficulty getting pregnant can all be investigated with a hysteroscopy. It can also be used to diagnose problems like fibroids and polyps.