Dilation and Curettage (D & C)
Sometimes referred to as a D & C, a dilation and curettage is a procedure in which tissue from the uterine lining (endometrium) is removed. In many cases, your gynecologist will use small instruments to dilate the cervix in order to access the uterus, but medication can be used as well.
Why is a D & C Performed?
A D & C may be performed in order to either diagnose or treat a condition.
Diagnosis. The procedure may be recommended for women who are experiencing an abnormal or excessive amount of bleeding. It is also used to detect uterine polyps, cancer or endometrial hyperplasia (a thickening of the uterine wall.)
Treatment. A dilation and curettage procedure can be used to stop excessive bleeding, remove fibroid tumors, remove excess tissue after a miscarriage or to end a pregnancy.
How to Prepare for a D & C
Sometimes this procedure will be performed under general, spinal or epidural anesthesia. If you are to receive these types of anesthesia, please do not eat or drink for at least 8 hours before the procedure. If you are receiving a local anesthetic, your doctor will give you instructions on fasting.
If a sedative is given before the procedure, you will need to make arrangements to be driven home.
What to Expect During the Procedure
A dilation and curettage should be relatively painless as you’ll receive general, regional or local anesthesia. Before the procedure begins you may be asked to empty your bladder. After that, you will lay on your back with your legs in supports. In order to view the cervix, your doctor will insert a speculum into the vagina. Instruments will then be inserted into the cervix to dilate the area. Tissue will be removed with a sharp, spoon-shaped instrument called a curette.
Patients are typically allowed to leave within a few hours and my resume normal activity within a few days.