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Abnormal Uterine Bleeding - Surgery

Surgery is generally reserved for treating abnormal uterine bleeding that can't be controlled with medicine.

Surgery choices

The following procedures are used to treat abnormal uterine bleeding.

  • Hysteroscopy can be used to diagnose and treat abnormal uterine bleeding at the same time. A lighted viewing instrument called a hysteroscope is inserted through the vagina and cervix and into the uterus. When areas of bleeding are located, biopsies can be taken and then the areas of bleeding can be treated with either a laser beam or electric current (electrocautery).
  • Hysterectomy is the removal of the uterus. It may be done when a sample of the uterine lining (endometrial biopsy) shows abnormal cell changes or cancer, when uterine bleeding is uncontrollable, or when the cause of chronic bleeding cannot be found and treated. A hysterectomy is a major surgery with risks of complications. Recovery from surgery can take 4 to 8 weeks, depending on the type of hysterectomy done. If the ovaries are also removed, you may need to take long-term estrogen therapy after surgery.
  • Endometrial ablation is a minimally invasive alternative to hysterectomy when other medical treatments fail or when you or your doctor have reasons for not using other treatments. Endometrial ablation scars the uterine lining, so it is not a treatment option if you are planning to become pregnant.

What to think about

Hysteroscopy may be done to rule out serious uterine conditions:

  • Before long-term treatment with medicines or surgical treatment for abnormal uterine bleeding.
  • When uterine bleeding has continued despite nonsurgical treatment.

Hysterectomy may be used as surgical treatment for abnormal uterine bleeding when:

  • Abnormal uterine bleeding does not respond to medicine or other treatment.
  • Childbearing is completed and you do not wish to try treatment with medicine.
  • Symptoms of abnormal uterine bleeding outweigh the risks and discomforts of surgery.

Regrowth of the endometrium may occur after you have endometrial ablation.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: May 10, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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