Hysteroscopy is a procedure that allows your doctor to look inside your uterus in order to diagnose and treat causes of abnormal bleeding. Hysteroscopy is done using a hysteroscope, a thin, lighted tube that is inserted into the vagina to examine the cervix and inside of the uterus. Hysteroscopy can be either diagnostic or operative.
A hysteroscopy is used both to treat and diagnose abnormal vaginal bleeding. The technology used in this procedure makes it possible to examine the inside of the uterus without making an incision in the abdomen.
Prior to the procedure, your doctor may prescribe a sedative to help you relax. You will then be prepared for anesthesia, which may be local or general.
The doctor will dilate (widen) your cervix to allow the hysteroscope to be inserted. The hysteroscope is inserted through your vagina and cervix into the uterus. Carbon dioxide gas or a liquid solution is then inserted into the uterus, through the hysteroscope, to expand it and to clear away any blood or mucus.
Next, a light shone through the hysteroscope allows your doctor to see your uterus and the openings of the fallopian tubes into the uterine cavity. Finally, if surgery needs to be performed, small instruments are inserted into the uterus through the hysteroscope.
The time it takes to perform hysteroscopy can range from less than five minutes to more than an hour. The length of the procedure depends on whether it is diagnostic or operative and whether an additional procedure, such as laparoscopy, is done at the same time. In general, however, diagnostic hysteroscopy takes less time than operative.