During a hysteroscopy, a small, lighted tool is used to view inside a woman’s uterus.
A hysteroscopy is performed to view the inside of a woman’s uterus (womb). During the procedure, a hysteroscope—a thin, lighted instrument with a small camera on the end—is gently inserted into the uterus through the vagina.
When Is a Hysteroscopy Recommended?
A physician may order a hysteroscopy for diagnostic or treatment purposes in women who are not pregnant. For instance, this procedure can be used to:
- Identify the cause of symptoms such as uterine bleeding and post-menopausal bleeding
- Remove a small piece of tissue for testing (biopsy)
- Investigate factors behind infertility or recurrent miscarriages
- Find and/or remove shifted intrauterine devices (IUDs)
- Evaluate and remove irregularities such as uterine fibroids, polyps and scar tissue
What Happens During a Hysteroscopy?
A woman undergoing a hysteroscopy may receive a sedative to help her relax, followed by local anesthesia to numb a portion of the lower body. The procedure involves:
- Dilating the cervix to accommodate the hysteroscope
- Gently inserting the hysteroscope into the vagina, up the cervix and into the uterus
- Widening the uterus for increased visibility using a safe gas or liquid solution
- Examining the cervix, opening of the fallopian tubes and uterus
- Inserting small instruments through the hysteroscope to remove tissue, polyps or fibroids, if necessary
What Can I Expect?
Depending on the purpose of the procedure, a hysteroscopy can last anywhere from five minutes to more than an hour. Local anesthesia may be given to help numb any discomfort. In more complex cases, a hysteroscopy may be performed under general anesthesia in an inpatient setting.
The risks involved in hysteroscopy are minimal, but possible complications include infection, heavy bleeding, damage to the cervix or an allergic reaction to the gas or fluid used to widen the uterus. The most common side effects are mild and temporary cramping and vaginal bleeding.
The specialists at Tampa General Hospital’s Women’s Institute perform a full complement of diagnostic services, including hysterscopies and other advanced gynecological procedures.