Endometrial ablation procedures
Some procedures use heat to dissolve the endometrium under direct visualization with a hysteroscope. Other uterine lesions, such as polyps and fibroids can be removed during the same procedure using this technique.
Why endometrial ablations are performed
Endometrial ablation, or destruction of the lining of the uterus, is a treatment for heavy menstrual bleeding. It is an alternative to hysterectomy for the treatment of bleeding in women who wish to keep their uterus or avoid major surgery.
Candidates for endometrial ablation
- Women who are pre-menopausal
- Women experiencing heavy bleeding caused by a benign (non-cancerous) condition
- Women who have finished having children and are not interested in future fertility
- Women who wish to retain their uteruses for personal reasons
What to expect during an endometrial ablation
An endometrial ablation is an outpatient procedure with a short recovery. It can either be performed in the physician’s office, or as an outpatient procedure in an operating room. A woman may experience some cramping after the procedure; ibuprofen is usually adequate to treat pain. It is common to have a vaginal discharge for two to four weeks after the procedure. Most women are typically back to their normal activities in one or two days.
The recovery process will vary depending upon the type of ablation performed and the type of anesthesia that was administered. If anesthesia was received in the operating room, the patient will be taken to the recovery room for observation. Once blood pressure, pulse and breathing are stable and the patient is alert, she is discharged home. If an ablation was performed in the office, the patient can go home about 30 minutes after the procedure is complete.
Success rates for treating heavy bleeding
- About 40% of women will have no periods (amenorrhea) after an endometrial ablation.
- About 85-90% of women have either no periods or decreased bleeding. Generally, they do not need further treatment.
- About 10-15% of women will require additional treatment, such as a hysterectomy.