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Surgical Procedures for Menstrual Disorders
Surgical Procedures for Amenorrhea
Surgery is only recommended in rare cases where amenorrhea is linked to:
- Ovarian cyst
- Vaginal blockage
- Uterine abnormalities or hymen (thin membrane in the vagina) abnormalities
Surgical Procedures for the Treatment of Menorrhagia
There are several surgical options available for women with heavy menstrual bleeding. You should carefully consider your surgical options since some may affect your ability to have children.
Dilation and Curettage
Dilation and curettage (D&C) is the standard procedure to remove the lining of the uterus and allow replacement by healthier cells. The cervix is dilated and a scoop-shaped instrument, called a curette, is inserted and used to scrape the uterine lining and remove tissue through the vagina.
In the past, the D&C was purported to be both a diagnostic and a therapeutic procedure. Currently, the D&C is no longer viewed as an effective therapy for menorrhagia. This procedure will not help menorrhagia due to adenomysosis (a condition in which endometrial cells move into the muscle of the uterus).
Using an instrument called a hysteroscope (a long, thin telescope with a camera on the end), the doctor is able to visualize the interior of the uterus and to remove the cause of bleeding, such as a polyp or a fibroid. This procedure is often done in combination with an ablation or a resection of the uterine lining.
In an endometrial ablation , the lining of your uterus (the endometrium) is destroyed. This procedure is highly effective in eliminating heavy bleeding.
There are several ways to perform an endometrial ablation. One way uses lasers or electric voltage to destroy the endometrium. The uterus is filled with fluid to help the doctor have a better view. A laser beam or high electric voltage is usually used to vaporize the uterine tissue. Another technique uses a device that applies heat as it rolls across the uterine lining, destroying the endometrial tissue. In microwave ablation, microwaves are generated inside the uterus to heat and destroy the lining of the uterus. Another way to perform an endometrial ablation is by using a balloon. Here, the lining of your uterus is destroyed by placing a balloon filled with hot fluid inside the uterus.
In an endometrial resection, the lining of your uterus is removed. This procedure is highly effective in eliminating heavy bleeding. The cervix is dilated and fluid is pumped into the uterine cavity to help the doctor have a better view of the uterus. The lining is then removed with an electrosurgical wire loop.
These procedures will not help menorrhagia due to adenomyosis.
Hysterectomy is the surgical removal of the uterus. The most common reason for hysterectomy is heavy bleeding, but this surgery is only done for the most severe cases. In some cases, the ovaries are removed, as well, in a procedure called oophorectomy . Oophorectomy is usually performed only after age 40-45 years, as the woman approaches menopause. The ovaries are removed to prevent later development of ovarian cancer . This surgery leads to premature menopause in younger women.
Abnormal uterine bleeding. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated August 15, 2012. Accessed August 20, 2012.
Amenorrhea. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated July 15, 2012. Accessed August 20, 2012.
Menstruation and the menstrual cycle fact sheet. Office on Women's Health website. Available at: http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/menstruation.html. Updated October 21, 2009. Accessed August 20, 2012.
- Reviewer: Andrea Chisholm, MD
- Review Date: 09/2015
- Update Date: 09/17/2014