Hysteroscopic Endometrial Ablation
This page will provide you with information about hysteroscopic endometrial ablation. For further details, please speak to your consultant.
What is a hysteroscopic endometrial ablation?
An endometrial ablation is a gynaecological procedure that is commonly carried out in the UK, used to remove the lining of the uterus (womb). This surgery is often used as a way to improve the problems and symptoms of heavy, prolonged periods (also known as menorrhagia), by reducing the amount of bleeding and the associated pain.
Due to the nature of the procedure, a hysteroscopic endometrial ablation is not recommended for women who plan to have children. Although, it will not eliminate all risks of becoming pregnant.
What are the benefits of the surgery?
After a hysteroscopic endometrial ablation, most women say that they have seen a reduction in their periods. For some, periods are halted completely.
What are the alternatives to surgery?
Before undertaking the procedure, you should consider any alternatives. For example, the symptoms of heavy menstrual bleeding can frequently be alleviated using a variety of oral medications or oral contraceptives. Many women also report that using an IUD (intra-uterine device, also known as a coil) can help reduce bleeding.
What will happen during the operation?
Using a narrow telescope linked to a camera (known as a hysteroscope) inserted into your vagina, your gynaecologist will be able to examine the inside of your womb on a computer screen. Often, gas or fluid will be used to inflate the womb to give the surgeon a clearer view of your uterus (see figure 1).
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The gynaecologist will then use one of several different methods to remove the womb lining. This can include:
- Electrocautery (or diathermy) – where an electrically heated ball that can be rolled across the lining
- Heated fluid – a deflated silicone balloon is placed inside your womb and filled with heated fluid inflated to fit the shape of your womb
- Laser thermal ablation – which uses a high-energy beam of light
- Microwave endometrial ablation (MEA) – where a microwave probe is put in your womb and electromagnetic waves are used
The operation is usually performed under a general anaesthetic and usually takes between 10 and 30 minutes to complete, depending on which method is used.
Risks and complications
Any risks or complications will be discussed in advance of your treatment with your expert consultant.
You should be able to go home the same day of your surgery and return to your normal activities after two to four days. If you need pain relief, over-the-counter painkillers can help.
Most women feel able to return to work after about a week.
You are likely to experience some bleeding or discharge for up to four weeks. If the discharge smells, changes colour or causes pain, you may have an infection and you should contact your consultant. Using sanitary towels rather than tampons can reduce the risk of infection.
Regular exercise should help you to return to normal activities as soon as possible. However, before you start exercising, ask your consultant for advice about what might be appropriate. Your consultant will also advise you as to how long you should wait before having sex.
EIDO Healthcare Limited – The operation information on this website is produced using information from EIDO Healthcare Ltd and is licensed by Aspen Healthcare.
The information should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.