What is Hysteroscopy?
A hysteroscopy is a procedure that allows a surgeon to look inside the womb (uterus) using a narrow tube-like telescopic camera called a hysteroscope. A hysteroscopy can be used either to diagnose a condition or to treat it.
You will meet the surgeon carrying out your procedure to discuss your care. It may differ from what is described here as it will be designed to meet your individual needs.
Hysteroscopy is a surgical procedure in which a gynecologist uses a small lighted telescopic instrument called a hysteroscope (his'ter-o-skop') to diagnose and treat many uterine disorders, including abnormal bleeding. Using fiberoptic technology, the hysteroscope transmits an image of the uterine canal and cavity to a televison monitor, allowing the gynecologist to properly guide the instrument into the endometrial cavity.* There are two types of hysteroscopy. Diagnostic hysteroscopy is performed to examine the uterus for signs of normalcy or abnormality. Operative hysteroscopy is performed to treat a disorder after it has been diagnosed. The operative method involves the insertion of small instruments through a sheath covering the hysteroscope to enable the gynecologist to perform a variety of therapeutic procedures. Diagnostic and operative hysteroscopy can be performed together or as separate procedures, depending on the patient and the nature of the patient's medical condition.
Unlike dilatation and curettage (D and C)— the scraping and suction of tissue from the uterine lining—hysteroscopy enables the gynecologist to visually examine the uterus to identify the cause of an underlying disorder. For this reason, hysteroscopy may be recommended instead of a D and C as a treatment for abnormal bleeding or other uterine disorders, including the removal of small fibroids. Because hysteroscopy leaves the uterus intact, in many cases it can offer a desirable alternative to hysterectomy (surgical removal of the uterus) as a treatment for abnormal bleeding.
It is important to remember that each individual is different, and the indications for and outcome of any operation depend upon the patient's condition. This booklet is not intended to take the place of the professional expertise of a qualified gynecologist who is familiar with your situation. After reading the booklet, you will probably have further questions. You should feel free to discuss them openly and honestly with your doctor.