Hysteroscopy enables a physician to look through the vagina and cervix to inspect the cavity of the uterus with an instrument called a hysteroscope. The hysteroscope is an extremely thin telescope-like instrument that looks like a lighted tube. The hysteroscope is so thin that it can fit through the cervix with only minimal or no dilation. Hysteroscopy may be either diagnostic or operative.
Diagnostic hysteroscopy can be used to help determine the cause of infertility, dysfunctional uterine bleeding, adhesions, or repeated miscarriages. It can also help locate polyps and fibroids, as well as intrauterine devices (IUDs). Many times a hysteroscopy is done at the same time as a dilation and curettage (D&C).
An operative hysteroscopy may be used to both diagnose and treat certain conditions such as uterine adhesions, septums, or fibroids, which can often be removed through the hysteroscope.
Hysteroscopy advantages are that a doctor can take tissue samples of specific areas and view any fibroids, polyps, or structural abnormalities in the uterus. In addition, small fibroids and polyps may be removed via the hysteroscope (in combination with other instruments that are inserted through canals in the hysteroscope), thus avoiding more invasive and complicated surgery. Any tissue removed through the hysteroscope is sent to pathology for examination.
When should it be performed?
The best time for hysteroscopy is during the first week or so after your period. During this time, your physician is best able to view the inside of the uterus.
You may experience cramping and vaginal bleeding for a day or two after the procedure. If you experience a fever, severe abdominal pain, or heavy vaginal bleeding or discharge, call your physician.