Hysteroscopic Endometrial Ablation

This webpage will give you information about an endometrial ablation. If you have any questions, you should ask your GP or other relevant health professional.

What is an endometrial ablation?

An endometrial ablation is an operation to remove the lining (endometrium) of the uterus (womb).

What are the benefits of surgery?

Most women will experience a noticeable reduction in their periods and, in some cases, periods stop altogether.

 

An endometrial ablation has fewer complications and a quicker recovery time than a hysterectomy.

Are there any alternatives to surgery?

Heavy periods can be treated using a variety of oral medications.

Other alternatives include a hormonal coil.

What does the operation involve?

An endometrial ablation is usually performed under a general anaesthetic. The operation usually takes about half an hour.

 

Your gynaecologist will pass a hysteroscope (telescope with operating instruments) through your vagina and cervix into the cavity of your womb and pass fluid through the telescope to swell the womb (see figure 1).

Endometrial Ablation

Figure 1 - An endometrial ablation

They will use electricity or laser energy to remove the lining of your womb and any polyps or small fibroids they find.

What complications can happen?

General complications of any operation

  • Pain
  • Feeling or being sick
  • Bleeding or discharge
  • Infection
  • Blood clots

Specific early complications of this operation

  • Bleeding during the procedure
  • Fluid overload
  • Making a hole in the womb
  • Failed procedure
  • Haematometra
  • Blood and fluid collecting in the fallopian tubes
  • Continued bleeding or pain

How soon will I recover?

You should be able to go home the same day. 

You should be able to return to normal activities after two to four days. Most women are fit for work after about a week. 

You should expect to have some bleeding or discharge for up to six weeks after the operation. 

Regular exercise should help you to return to normal activities as soon as possible. Before you start exercising, you should ask a member of the healthcare team or your GP for advice. 

The operation is not recommended for women who still want children.

However, even if your periods stop, there is still a risk of you becoming pregnant.

Summary

An endometrial ablation is a commonly-performed gynaecological operation to relieve the symptoms of heavy periods. If the operation is successful, you should have less bleeding and pain.

Acknowledgements

Author: Mr Jeremy Hawe MBChB MRCOG

Illustrations: Hannah Ravenscroft RM

This document is intended for information purposes only and should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.

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