Endometrial ablation is an outpatient procedure that is used to remove the endometrial lining in the uterus of a woman suffering from unusually high menstrual bleeding. During the procedure, the endometrium is ablated or destroyed with the help of laser or microwave.
Endometrial ablation surgery is not recommended for women who wish to conceive in the future. This is because this procedure may permanently damage the layers of the uterus and the endometrium may no longer be suitable for the attachment of the developing fetus.
Uterine ablation is most commonly recommended for women who suffer from heavy menstrual bleeding and do not wish to undergo hysterectomy or the surgical removal of the uterus. This procedure is either conducted at the doctor’s office or at a hospital. It can be conducted under local or light anesthesia or general or spinal anesthesia.
Uterine ablation is not recommended for patients who have:
You may expect to perform the following things in weeks and days before the procedure
Before the actual start of the procedure, the doctor first widens the cervix so that different tools can pass through the vagina. The cervix is dilated with the help of medications or a series of rods that eventually increase the diameter of the cervix.
There are different ways to perform endometrial ablation. In electrosurgery, the inside of the uterus is seen with the help of a scope. A wire loop is heated and inserted into the uterus to ablate the endometrium. In the case of cryoablation, two to three ice balls are used to destroy the endometrium. Some of the other methods used to ablate or destroy the endometrium include a heated balloon, radiofrequency, and free-flowing hot liquid.
One of the most popular options nowadays is microwave endometrial ablation. In this procedure, a wand that emits microwaves is inserted into the uterus. The microwaves heat the endometrial layer. The procedure lasts for around three to five minutes.
Endometrial ablation recovery is rather quick. Women who undergo endometrial ablation may experience menstrual-like cramps for a few days. Such patients are prescribed painkillers to manage cramping and pain. Additionally, they may also experience a discharge of watery fluid, which is sometimes mixed with blood. The discharge, however, stops within a few days. During the first 24 hours of the procedure, such patients may experience frequent urge to urinate.
Q: Is endometrial ablation a sterilization procedure?
A: No, endometrial ablation is not used for sterilization. Pregnancy is still possible even though it may be hazardous and may lead to miscarriage.
Q: Is an endometrial ablation safe?
A: Endometrial ablation is a safe and a one-time procedure used for the treatment of heavy menstrual bleeding arising out of a noncancerous condition. This procedure, however, should not be used in the cases wherein a pregnancy is desired in the future.
Q: Is it possible to get pregnant after endometrial ablation?
A: Women who have had this procedure and still have a portion of the endometrium retained can still get pregnant. However, this pregnancy may be hazardous and can even terminate in miscarriage.
Q: What are the side effects of endometrial ablation?
A: Cramping, nausea, frequent urination, and vaginal discharge are some of the side effects of endometrial ablation.
Q: Can periods come back after ablation?
A: Nearly one-third of the women who undergo ablation stop having periods after this procedure. Some women may continue to have lighter periods. The periods may, however, return to normal in women who are years away from menopause.