Hysteroscopy is a procedure that views the inside of the uterus by inserting a small camera (Hysteroscope) through the vagina and cervix. It is used to help diagnose or treat a problem in the uterus. Often it is combined with a curettage, which samples the lining of the uterus.

Common reasons to perform a Hysteroscopy include, abnormal bleeding, heavy periods, post menopausal bleeding, fibroids, polyps or as part of the assessment of infertility.

The procedure is done in a day procedure setting in an operating theatre. Either a general anaesthetic or sedation with local anaesthetic is used. The cervix is slightly opened to allow the camera to pass through. A sample of the lining can be taken and sent for review under a microscope. The procedure takes about 10 minutes, there are no cuts to you abdomen or stitches and you can often go home the same day.

Every procedure has risks. The possible complications that can occur with a hysteroscopy include:

  • Infection: the uterus is a sterile organ. If infection occurs you would notice increase bleeding, smelly discharge, increased abdominal cramping or temperatures.
  • Bleeding: You may have some spotting for a few days following the procedure due to the disruption to the lining. Rarely there may be heavier bleeding.
  • Occasionally the procedure cannot be completed. This is especially true if the camera cannot be passed through the cervix.
  • A perforation, or hole, can be made in the uterus. Often this causes no problems, however it does risk injury to the bowel or bladder and further surgery may be required to assess and repair these injuries resulting in a longer recovery time and stay in hospital.

Other general complications related to all surgeries include:

  • Collapse of the lower parts of the lungs that may result in infection and require physiotherapy
  • Clots in the legs with pain and swelling. The risk is higher in women and surgery also increases this risk.
  • An operation and anaesthetic is a strain on your heart and lungs and there is a very rare risk of heart attack, stroke and death.

Prior to any operation you should fast from midnight for morning surgery or from 6am for surgery in the afternoon. This is to prevent aspiration of food particles into your lungs.

It is also important to discuss the possible need for ceasing blood thinning agents and other medications prior to surgery

Following the operation you will be taken to the recovery ward while you are waking up. You are then moved to the day procedure unit before you are assessed to be fit to go home. You will be given pain relief as needed. A follow-up appointment will be made to see you back in the practice rooms.

Following the operation you should have someone drive you home and be with you for the next 24 hours. You should be eating and mobilising as normal. Avoid tampons, intercourse, spas or pools, as there may be an increase in infection rates. If you have any concerns you should contact the practice for advice.