Millions of women have gynecological procedures each year yet few know little about them until they’re facing one for the first time. Learn about the most common GYN procedures and surgeries before you need them and you’ll be a step ahead – more informed to make your own health care decisions.
Most of these common procedures can be handled in the office or at an outpatient surgical center with little downtime or recovery.
Dilation and Curettage or D&C
Commonly called a D&C, this non-surgical procedure is the most common gynecological procedure. The doctor removes the uterine lining with suction or a surgical instrument to evaluate abnormal uterine bleeding or abnormal cells found during routine screening for cervical cancer. It’s sometimes used to remove polyps, fibroid tumors, and tissue or a placenta that remains in the uterus after a delivery.
This procedure looks inside the uterus through a scope to examine the endometrium or lining of the uterus and the openings of the fallopian tubes. The scope allows the physician to take samples of tissue or perform minor operations like removing adhesions, polyps or fibroids. It’s also sometimes used to determining the cause of repeated miscarriage.
If routine screening reveals cervical dysplasia, or abnormal cells in your cervix, your doctor may perform cervical cryosurgery. The procedure freezes a section of the cervix to destroy any abnormal cervical cells before they can develop into cancer, allowing your body to heal the treated area on its own.
This procedure is used to treat unusually heavy menstrual flow in women who no longer wish to become pregnant. Heat, cold, or microwave energy is used to permanently destroy the endometrial lining of the uterus resulting in little or no monthly bleeding.
This surgical procedure involves a fingertip-sized incision and a thin scope to allow the doctor to visualize the uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries and surrounding tissue. The doctor may also take tissue samples, remove scar tissue, make repairs to the uterus, or remove one or both ovaries using this technique.
This surgical procedure is used to remove the uterus and sometime the ovaries as well. It can be performed by laparoscopy, robotic assistance, vaginally or by an open incision. This procedure typically is performed in a hospital and requires a period of observation.
Not all gynecological issues require procedures or surgery. An annual gynecological exam is a good way to manage your GYN health, have routine screening tests and ask your health care provider any questions you may have. Call your health care provider sooner if you experience:
- Periods that are less than 21 days apart or more than 45 days apart
- Severe abdominal or pelvic pain occurs during menstruation or sexual intercourse
- Excessive menstrual bleeding (more than one pad or tampon per hour for several hours)
- Periods lasting longer than 7 days
- Bleeding or spotting between periods
To find a gynecologist, visit our online physician directory.