Gynecology

What is Hysteroscopy?

Hysteroscopy is a procedure that involves inserting a tiny lighted telescope through the vaginal canal into the uterine cavity. This exam helps our doctors check for abnormalities or problems in the uterus (womb).

Hysteroscopy is often helpful in diagnosing why a woman may be having problems with her period or problems getting pregnant. Sometimes a woman may have had an ultrasound that showed the inside lining of her uterus (the endometrium) is too full or thick. By looking directly into the uterus with a tiny camera, we may see an area of abnormal tissue, a polyp or fibroid, scar tissue inside the uterus or even different shapes of the womb. Hysteroscopy can also allow your doctor to better plan a surgery or procedure such as an endometrial ablation (removal of the uterine lining), tubal sterilization, removal of fibroids, polyps or scar tissue and sometimes minor polyps or extra tissue can be comfortably removed in the office.

To perform the office hysteroscopy, a doctor inserts a very thin tube with a lens like a telescope lens into the uterus through the cervix. Often, the cervix is numbed before insertion to prevent any possible discomfort. Next the uterus is gently filled with a sterile saline solution, which expands the uterus so that the uterine walls can be seen clearly and completely. After this is done, the hysteroscope (camera) is used to thoroughly view the inside of the uterus. The doctor may take a sample of tissue or may remove small uterine polyps or scar tissue. After the doctor is done viewing the inside of the uterus and taking any necessary samples, he/she then allows the saline solution to drain from the uterus. Our patients are given the option to view the procedure live on a separate monitor if they wish and the doctor will discuss the findings and the plan of care with you after your procedure.

Hysteroscopy FAQs

Can  I return to normal activity immediately after my hysteroscopy?

Yes. In-office hysteroscopy is very tolerated and women are back to their normal schedule immediately.

Do I need anesthesia for my hysteroscopy procedure?

Women having an office hysteroscopy are often instructed to take either ibuprofen or acetaminophen about 1/2 hour prior to the procedure. The doctor may also use a local injection of numbing medicine during your procedure.

Is the hysteroscopy procedure painful?

Most women report only mild, brief discomfort that goes away immediately after the procedure is complete.

Choosing Endometrial Ablation

Endometrial ablation is a procedure that destroys (ablates) the inside lining of the uterus (womb) or endometrium. This procedure is used to treat abnormal uterine bleeding such as heavy periods. It is often done with hysteroscopy (insertion of small lighted camera into the womb) or after hysteroscopy has been performed. There are several types of ablation. They all use some type of energy or heat to take out just the inside lining of the uterus. After the procedure, the endometrium (lining) heals by scarring with generally reduces or eliminates a woman’s periods.

One out of every five women report that they have very heavy periods. At SOGA we perform either NovaSure (patient brochure) or Thermachoice (patient brochure) ablations for our patients opting for minimally invasive surgery to control their bleeding. Other options for treating heavy periods include medications and more major surgeries such as hysterectomy. In order to ensure that you have the desired response from your procedure, your SOGA physician (Dr. Anne Doll-Pollard or Dr. Bonnie Gelly) will perform a pre-procedure exam and review all of your options with you. We perform all of our procedures in an outpatient surgery setting in order to ensure that patients are comfortable during the procedure.

Endometrial Ablation FAQs

What will my periods be like after an ablation?

90% of women who have had an ablation report very light periods and up to 50% will not have periods at all.

What is recovery like after an ablation procedure?

We typically suggest patients schedule an ablation near the end of the week so they can be back to work by Monday. Most women need 1-2 days of recovery downtime.

Is there pain after the procedure?

Cramping can be common after an ablation procedure. Your physician will often times prescribe a mild pain medication to be used for a couple of days.

Where does SOGA perform endometrial ablations?

Our SOGA physicians offer ablations at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Breese, St. Joseph’s Hospital in Highland, HSHS Holy Family in Greenville, Edwardsville Ambulatory Surgery Center in Glen Carbon, Anderson and Fayette County Hospital.

Is MyoSure Right For You?

MyoSure (patient brochure) is a simple procedure that eliminates your fibroids without having to remove or even cut the uterus. Your doctor inserts an instrument into the uterus through the vagina to take out the fibroid. Once the fibroid has been removed, your period should go back to normal. The MyoSure procedure is the ideal treatment option if you are looking to reduce your heavy bleeding caused by polyps or fibroids, while retaining a fully functional uterus.

There are three simple steps to the MyoSure procedure:

Step 1: Your doctor opens your cervix (the opening to the uterus) slightly by passing through the body’s natural openings (i.e., through the vagina) and inserts a slender camera through your cervix and into your uterus, allowing him or her to see inside.

Step 2: Your doctor passes a slender wand through your vagina into your uterus. The side of the wand gently cuts the fibroid or polyp into tiny pieces and suctions the removed tissue through a small open window into the wand and out of your body.

Step 3: Once the fibroid has been taken away, the wand is removed from the uterus. Nothing is left in your body after the procedure.