A hysteroscopy is a surgical procedure in which a small-diameter device is inserted into the uterus by a doctor. The device has a small camera and a light to allow the inside of the uterus to be seen. This procedure may be recommended to aid in the removal of fibroids and polyps, to discover any malformation of the uterus, in conjunction with a laparoscopic procedure, among other reasons.
This procedure takes place with the patient in the same position as they would normally be in for a gynecological exam, with their feet in stirrups at the end of the exam table. The doctor will spread the cervix with a speculum and insert the hysteroscopy device into the vaginal opening. It will be moved through the cervix and into the uterus. A liquid or carbon dioxide gas is sent into the uterus through the device to help widen and clear the surface. It should not be painful, but you may experience cramping during the procedure. It can take anywhere from 5 minutes to 30, depending on what is being done.
The purpose of your hysteroscopy will determine the length of recovery, but there are some common side effects after surgery. You may experience cramping, mild nausea, lightheadedness or dizziness, slight bleeding or spotting for a day or so, and shoulder pain if carbon dioxide gas was used. If your procedure requires general anesthesia, you should be able to return home after a few hours. If local anesthesia was used, you will typically be able to leave in less than an hour. If it requires regional anesthesia, you may be required to wait until the effects have worn off before you can go home.
Although a hysteroscopy is considered a safe procedure with minimal complications, some complications are still possible. These complications include infection, heavy bleeding, scarring of the uterus, reaction to anesthesia or the liquid used to clean the uterus, and any side effects associated with the use of anesthesia. If you experience any heavy bleeding, fever, chills, or severe pain, contact your doctor immediately.
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