Gynecology >> Ablation

Endometrial Ablation

Endometrial ablation is a procedure that destroys (ablates) the uterine lining, or endometrium. This procedure is used to treat dysfunctional or abnormal uterine bleeding. Sometimes a lighted viewing instrument (hysteroscope) is used to see inside the uterus. Endometrial ablation can be done by:

  • Laser beam (laser thermal ablation)
  • Heat (thermal ablation), using:
    • Radiofrequency
    • A balloon filled with saline solution that has been heated to 85C (thermal balloon ablation)
    • Normal saline (heated free fluid)
  • Electricity, using a resectoscope with a loop or rolling ball electrode
  • Freezing
  • Microwave

The endometrium heals by scarring, which usually reduces or prevents uterine bleeding.

Endometrial ablation may be done in an outpatient facility or your doctor's office. The procedure can take up to about 45 minutes. The procedure may be done using a local or spinal anesthesia. And general anesthesia is sometimes used.

After the procedure, you may have some side effects, such as cramping, nausea, and vaginal discharge that may be watery and mixed with blood. This discharge will become clear after a couple of days and can last for around 1 to 2 weeks.

It takes a few days to 2 weeks to recover. You can usually go home the same day.

Endometrial ablation is used to control heavy, prolonged vaginal bleeding when:

  • Bleeding has not responded to other treatments
  • Childbearing is completed
  • You prefer not to have a hysterectomy to control bleeding
  • Other medical problems prevent a hysterectomy

Most women will have reduced menstrual flow following endometrial ablation, and up to half will stop having periods.

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