What is Endometrial Ablation?
Endometrial ablation is a minimally invasive procedure in which the endometrium, the lining part of the uterus, is surgically destroyed. This procedure is used to reduce abnormally high menstrual flow and can be performed through the vagina, it doesn’t require any incision in your abdomen. Most ablation procedures can reduce your blood flow by about 70%.
Why Will You Need an Endometrial Ablation?
Endometrial ablation is used to treat excessive menstrual blood loss, which is usually related to a wide range of gynaecological conditions. The procedure is done after conventional treatments have failed. Your doctor will recommend endometrial ablation in the following cases:
- Heavy menstrual flow.
- Abnormally long menstrual bleeding, longer than 8-10 days.
- Heavy menstrual bleeding leading to anemia.
What Does Endometrial Ablation Involve?
Before the Procedure
Before the procedure, your doctor will explain to you the reasons and the steps to follow. Additionally, your doctor will make sure you are not pregnant and will remove any device in your uterus, like a coil, before the procedure. Also, you are not allowed to drink or eat anything at least 6 hours before the procedure.
During the Procedure
Endometrial ablation usually takes place under general anesthesia. Prior to the procedure, your cervix will be medically dilated in order to allow the endometrial ablation instruments to pass through.
Endometrial ablation can be done following different ablation techniques, some of them include:
- Electrosurgery. This technique uses an instrument similar to a wire loop that produces heat and eliminates the endometrium.
- Hydrothermal ablation and thermal balloon ablation – this is more commonly used and has the least complications.
- Cryoablation. Here, extreme cold is used to destroy the endometrium. Rarely used these days.
- Microwaves. A slender wand that emits microwaves is inserted in the uterus. Then, the endometrial tissue is heated and destroyed. Rarely used these days.
- Radiofrequency. A special device that transmits radiofrequency energy is inserted into the uterus. The energy vaporizes the endometrium very quickly.
Depending on the case, the procedure can range from 15 minutes to one hour, and during this time you will be closely monitored.
After the Procedure
After the procedure, you might experience some abdominal pain, like menstrual cramps, and also vaginal blood flow that will decrease over the days.
Endometrial Ablation Possible Risks and Complications
Endometrial ablation is a safe procedure. However, as with any type of surgery, complications are possible, some of these include:
- Heavy bleeding
- Adverse reaction to anesthesia
- Accidental injury of the cervix, uterus, bowel or bladder
- Local infection
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