This page will give you information about a thermal balloon endometrial ablation. If you have any questions, you should ask your GP or other relevant health professional.
What is a thermal balloon endometrial ablation?
A thermal balloon endometrial ablation is an operation that uses a special balloon filled with hot fluid to thin the lining (endometrium) of your uterus (womb). After the operation most women have a noticeable reduction in their periods and, for some women, periods stop altogether.
What are the benefits of surgery?
The most common reason for having an endometrial ablation 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 (intra-uterine 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?
Your gynaecologist will place a thermal balloon into your womb. They will expand the balloon with fluid.
Your gynaecologist will heat the fluid to the right temperature. The fluid moves around the balloon with the heat thinning the lining of your womb.
What complications can happen?
Some of these can be serious and can even cause death.
General complications of any operation
- feeling or being sick
- bleeding or discharge
- blood clot in your leg
- blood clot in your lung
Specific early complications
- failed procedure
- thermal burns
- making a hole in your womb with possible damage to a nearby structure
Specific late complications
- haematometra, where blood and other menstrual fluid collect in pockets in your womb
- continued bleeding or pain
- if you have been previously sterilised, tubal sterilisation syndrome
How soon will I recover?
You should be able to go home the same day.
You may get some cramps and mild bleeding similar to a period. Rest for 1 to 2 days and take painkillers if you need them.
You should be able to return to normal activities after 2 to 4 days. Most women are fit for work after 3 to 4 days.
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.
An endometrial ablation is a common gynaecological operation. It helps relieve the symptoms of heavy periods. You should get less bleeding and pain.
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Last reviewed: September 2019