Dilation and Curettage
Your physician has recommended you have a D&C (dilation and curettage). This common procedure helps your physician learn more about problems inside your uterus. During a D&C, the cervix (opening of the uterus) is widened or dilated. Tissue samples are then removed from the endometrium (lining of the uterus) with an instrument called a curette. In many cases, D&C is done to find the cause of abnormal vaginal bleeding, or as a form of treatment.
Preparing for D&C
- Arrange for an adult family member or friend to drive you home.
- Don’t eat or drink anything after the midnight before your D&C (unless told otherwise by your physician).
During Your D&C
Just before your D&C, you’ll receive medication to prevent pain. You may be awake but relaxed during the procedure, or you may be completely asleep.
- Instruments are used to hold the vagina open and to steady the uterus. The cervical canal is widened using tapered instruments called dilators.
- A hysteroscope (thin, flexible telescope) may be inserted into the vagina. This allows your health-care provider to see into the uterus.
- The curette is inserted into the uterus. Tissue samples are taken from several areas. These samples are sent to a lab to be studied.
After Your D&C
You can expect some cramping for a few hours after a D&C. This can be controlled with an over-the-counter pain reliever.
You may have some light bleeding for a few weeks. Use pads instead of tampons.
Take showers instead of baths for about a week. Ask your physicians if you should avoid exercising or having sex for a period of time.
Risks and Complications
D&C rarely causes complications. However, as with any procedure, D&C has some risks. Before your D&C, your physician will discuss these with you. You may be asked to sign a consent form.
Risks may include:
- Heavy bleeding
- Perforation of the uterine wall or damage to nearby organs
- The need for additional tests or procedures
- Risks associated with anesthesia
When to Call Your Doctor
Call your doctor immediately if you have any of the following after surgery: