What does hysteroscopy mean?
The hysteroscopy is an observation of the interior of the uterus via the use of an optical telescope, called hysteroscope. It can be a flexible tool with the thickness of a pencil or a harder device, but quite thinner (3 mm in diameter).
Hysteroscopy is a method applied for diagnostic purposes or as a surgical method for treatment of particular conditions.
Why is hysteroscopy necessary?
Hysteroscopy allows the physician to examine in detail the interior of the uterus.
The hysteroscope is carefully inserted through the vagina and the uterine cervix while the operator watches carefully his/her own activities on special monitors.
During the procedure a biopsy can be taken – a small piece of the tissue to be examined.
As a method, hysteroscopy is applied the cause of some symptoms to be defined, such as:
- unusual bleeding;
- problems in getting pregnant and in maintaining pregnancy;
- other gynecological diseases;
Hysteroscopy is used in the treatment of some particular medical conditions.
With the use of special tools inserted through the hysteroscope, it becomes possible via the hysteroscopic method to be removed:
- old adhesions;
- myoma located inside the uterine cavity or beneath the mucosal lining.
Hysteroscopy usually takes about 20-30 minutes. When it is performed with a diagnostic aim and no other surgical manipulations have to be carried out, the procedure can be performed under local anaesthetic via an injection into the uterine cervix.
In other cases, if some further surgical manipulations are necessary, the hysteroscopy is performed under general anaesthetic.
This means that the patient will be under a general anaesthetic during the procedure and will not feel any pain.
In this case the patient is required not to take any food or liquids for about 6 hours prior to the anaesthetic.
After the anaesthetic has been given to the patient, the hysteroscope is introduced through the cervix into the uterine cavity. The special camera, attached to the telescope, allows the physician, performing the procedure, to see a clear image on the screen. In order the image to be seen better, the uterine cavity is enlarged via gas or liquid. After the completion of the inspection and manipulations, the hysteroscope is removed easily and quickly.
After the procedure has been performed at our hospital you can receive a CD with the recording of the surgical manipulation.
You can request it in advance at the Registration Desk.
What to expect next?
When the anaesthetic ceases to act the patient may feel some abdominal pain and may need to take some painkillers.
Most women are able to go home when they are not anymore under the influence of the anaesthetic. If it is a local anaesthetic, patients are usually able to go home after a short rest in a supine position.
Any woman, whose procedure is performed under a general anaesthetic, needs a longer rest and a friend or a relative to accompany her home and stay with her for the next 24 hours.
In case the manipulation requires a longer rest and recovery period, the patient has to stay in the hospital for observation by our medical team.
The general anaesthetic may temporarily affect the patient’s coordination and some other abilities, therefore, the patients are advised to avoid driving, alcohol or signing some important documents in the next 24 hours.
When you're at home, if necessary, take pain medication as advised by the hospital. It is important to relax for the rest of the day. Some patients feel well and can perform their routine activities the same day after the procedure; others need two or three day’s recovery after the procedure.
Many women find out that their monthly period after the procedure is heavier or longer than usual and that their next monthly cycles are also unusual.
To avoid the risk of infection, you should not use vaginal tampons during your first monthly cycle after the hysteroscopy.
Depending on the manipulations performed, your physician will advise you to avoid sexual contacts from one to three weeks after the procedure.
Deciding on a hysteroscopic procedure
Hysteroscopy is a routine and generally safe procedure.
For most women the benefits of having a clear diagnosis or a quick and effective treatment are far greater than any inconvenience. Before you decide to give your consent for hysteroscopy you should be informed about the possible side effects of the procedure and the risk of complications.
The decision, as well as the overall plan for your treatment, we will take together – this is the focal point in our philosophy.
Generally, the typical side effects are mild and temporary.
For example, you may not feel well as a result from the general anaesthetic despite the medicines that you take to relieve this condition.
After hysteroscopy the side effects may include:
- mild abdominal pain, similar to your menstruation pain;
- vaginal bleeding that may last a few days, in some exceptional cases it may last up to a month;
Most women are not affected by unexpected complications that may occur during the procedure or after it.
Complications, as a result from any medical intervention, are mainly: bleeding during the procedure or after it, infection and intolerance and allergic reaction to anesthesia.
Most women do not have any problems after hysteroscopy.
Different symptoms may indicate an infection or other complication, and in case such symptoms occur, you should immediately contact the hospital or your physician.
The symptoms may include:
- pain, lasting for more than 48 hours;
- severe, acute pain;
- abdominal bloating;
- high temperature;
- dark vaginal discharge with an unpleasant odor.
Other complications are less likely to occur.
In some cases the hysteroscopy may not be successfully completed and should be repeated.
It is possible that the uterus has been injured or perforated during the procedure. This can lead to bleeding and infection that will require treatment with medications, surgery, or in extreme cases, a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus). However, this happens very rarely.
The risk of complications depends on the type of the procedures performed, the complexity of the case, and other factors, such as the general health condition of the patient.
We are ready to discuss with you what potential risks exist in your particular case and to answer all your questions.