Dilation and Curettage D&C

Dilation and Curettage (D&C) is a surgical procedure during which the cervix is opened (dilated) and a slim instrument is placed inside the uterus. This tool is used to remove tissue from the inside of the uterus (curettage).

Many conditions that impact the uterus, including abnormal bleeding, require a D&C for diagnosis and treatment. A D&C is often done following a miscarriage. A D&C can also be performed with other procedures, like a hysteroscopy, where a slim instrument is used to observe the inside of the uterus. Dr. Harris will provide a D&C at Wayne Memorial Hospital, Jesup, Georgia.

Throughout the procedure, some form of anesthesia will be given. You will be lying on your back with legs in stirrups. A speculum will be inserted into your vagina and the cervix will be kept in position with a special device. The cervix dilation will be done slowly by inserting a number of slim rods (that progressively become larger) in the cervical opening. Generally just a minor level of dilation will be required. An instrument called a curette or suction will remove tissue lining from the uterus. In most instances, the tissue will be taken to a laboratory for evaluation.

Although rare, complications such as infection, bleeding, or perforation of the uterus can occur.  As with any procedure, problems associated with the anesthesia used can also happen. In rare instances, when D&C has been carried out following a miscarriage rings of scar tissue or adhesions, may develop within the uterus. This is known as Asherman syndrome. These adhesions might result in infertility and a change in your normal menstrual flow.

Following the procedure, you most likely will be given the option to go home in just a few hours, provided you have someone to get you home. You should be ready to go back to the majority of your normal activities in 1 or 2 days. Pain after having a D&C is normally mild. Pain medication will be provided. You also may experience some spotting or light bleeding.

If you have any of the following – contact your medical care provider:

  • Fever
  • Heavy bleeding from the vagina
  • Foul-smelling discharge from the vagina
  • Pain in the abdomen

A  new uterus lining will be established following a D&C. Your next menstrual cycle might not take place at it’s regular time. It could be early or late.

Until such time as your cervix goes back to its usual size, bacteria within the vagina can get into the uterus and result in an infection. It is imperative that nothing is put inside of your vagina following the procedure. Consult your medical care provider about when you are able become sexually active or use tampons again.