Microwave Endometrial Ablation

Microwave Endometrial Ablation

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

What is a microwave endometrial ablation?

A microwave endometrial ablation is an operation that uses microwave energy to remove the lining  of the uterus (womb).

What are the benefits of surgery?

Most women 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?

A microwave endometrial ablation can be performed under local or general anaesthetic and usually takes less than twenty minutes. 

Your gynaecologist will usually pass a hysteroscope through your vagina and cervix into the cavity of your womb and pass fluid or gas through the hysteroscope to swell the womb. They will place a microwave probe into your womb and then remove it slowly (see figure 1).

 

A microwave probe in the womb

 

Figure 1: A microwave probe in the womb

What complications can happen?

General complications

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

Specific complications

  • Making a hole in the womb
  • Failed procedure
  • Haematomata
  • 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. 

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 becoming pregnant.

Summary

An endometrial ablation is a commonly performed gynaecological operation. It helps  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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