Do You Need a D&C / Dilation & Curettage?

Your doctor told you you need a Dilation & Curettage procedure (D&C) but you are not sure why nor do you understand what to expect. All you really heard was a sample surgery procedure. We all know that surgery is only a “simple procedure” when it is on someone else. Maybe we can put your mind at ease a little.

A D&C is truly a simple and brief surgical procedure. There are several reasons your doctor may have recommended you have a D&C. A few of them are listed below:

  1. Remove tissue in the uterus due to a miscarriage, to remove small pieces of the placenta after childbirth, to help prevent in heavy bleeding.
  2. Diagnose or treat abnormal bleeding, diagnose/treat growths, (fibroids, polyps, endometriosis) or cancer.

Your doctor will tell you if there is another reason for his/her recommendation. We suggest your have your doctor refer you to Outpatient Services East. The staff there will do everything they can to make your time with them as pleasant and easy as possible.

There are several things you need to discuss with your doctor and the surgeon before you have your D&C. It is important you tell them if you are pregnant, if you are allergic to anything. (medications, iodine, latex)  Let them know if you have a history of bleeding problems. Infact as with any surgery procedure the doctor/surgeon should know your complete medical history.

It is important that your surgeon be told if you have ever had a problem with anesthesia as you will need anesthesia during the procedure.  You and the surgeon will need to discuss what type of anesthesia you will receive. If you have general anesthesia you will be asleep during the procedure. If the two of you decide on a spinal or epidural anesthesia you will have no feeling from the waist down but may not be asleep. You will be awake and the area around your cervix will be numbed if you have a local anesthesia.

For the procedure you will be on your back and lie on a table like the one your are on during a pelvic exam. The surgeon will use special equipment to hold the cervix in place for the procedure. The is no need for cuts or stitches but the area will be cleansed with an antiseptic solution.

The two steps of the D&C are:

  1. Dilation – widening the opening of the lower part of the uterus (cervix). This allows the insertion of the instrument the surgeon is using. Most often the surgeon will insert a slender rod (Laminaria) into the cervix and gradually widen the opening. Sometimes a medication is used to soften the cervix making it easier to widen.
  2. Curettage – scraping the lining to remove uterine contents. The instrument used is long, smooth and spoon shaped. (curette) It may be necessary for the surgeon to use a cannula to suction remaining contents from the uterus. Most of the time tissue samples are sent to a lab to be examination.

As with any surgical procedure there are some possible side effects and risk. You may experience cramping, spotting or light bleeding. If you have heavy or prolonged bleeding, fever, pain, abdominal tenderness, etc. call your doctor. He/she will discuss other things you will need to watch for as well.

You will need someone with you to drive you home.You may be groggy and have brief nausea or vomiting. You should be able to resume regular activities in a day or two.

Your surgeon will let you know when you need to come back for a follow-up visit and the results of the biopsy if one was needed.

We hope you chose Outpatient Services East to have this procedure done. The entire staff if professional and care about each patient.

Contact us with any questions or concerns at 205-838-3888

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