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Hysteroscopic endometrial ablation

3-minute read

This page will give you information about an endometrial ablation. If you have any questions, you should ask your GP or other relevant health professional.

What is an endometrial resection?

An endometrial resection is an operation to remove the lining (endometrium) of your uterus (womb).

What are the benefits of surgery?

The most common reason for having an endometrial resection is to relieve the symptoms of heavy periods (abnormal uterine bleeding).

About a third of women who have the operation will not have periods anymore.

Are there any alternatives to surgery?

Heavy periods can be treated using a variety of non-hormonal and hormonal oral (by mouth) medications.

Other alternatives include an IUS (intrauterine system) — an implant containing a synthetic form of the hormone progesterone that fits in your womb — but these are usually tried before surgery is recommended.

What does the operation involve?

The operation is usually performed under a general anaesthetic but various anaesthetic techniques are possible.

The operation usually takes about 30 minutes.

Your gynaecologist will examine your vagina. They will pass a small telescope (operating hysteroscope or resectoscope) through your vagina, across your cervix (neck of your womb) into your womb.

Illustration showing a hysteroscopy.
A hysteroscopy.

Your gynaecologist will pass fluid through the telescope to distend (swell) your womb. They will use a diathermy resecting loop (a loop of wire heated by electricity) to remove the lining of your womb and any polyps or small fibroids they find.

What complications can happen?

Some of these can be serious and can even cause death.

General complications of any operation

  • pain
  • feeling or being sick
  • bleeding or discharge
  • infection
  • blood clot in your leg
  • blood clot in your lung

Specific early complications

  • making a hole in your womb with possible damage to a nearby structure
  • bleeding during the operation
  • fluid overload
  • failed procedure

Specific late complications

  • haematometra, where blood and other menstrual fluid collect in pockets in your womb
  • blood and fluid collecting in your fallopian tubes
  • continued bleeding or pain

How soon will I recover?

You should be able to go home the same day.

You should be able to return to normal activities after 2 to 4 days. Most women are fit for work after about a week.

You should expect to have some bleeding or discharge for up to 4 weeks.

Regular exercise should help you to return to normal activities as soon as possible. Before you start exercising, ask the healthcare team or your GP for advice.

The operation is not recommended for women who still want children.

Even if your periods stop, there is still a risk of becoming pregnant.

Summary

An endometrial resection is a common gynaecological operation. It helps relieve the symptoms of heavy periods. You should get less bleeding and pain.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION
The operation and treatment information on this page is published under license by Healthdirect Australia from EIDO Healthcare Australia and is protected by copyright laws. Other than for your personal, non-commercial use, you may not copy, print out, download or otherwise reproduce any of the information. The information should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.

For more on how this information was prepared, click here.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: September 2019


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