Dilatation and curettage (D&C) is a common gynecological procedure. It can be used as a diagnostic tool, to clean the uterus after a miscarriage and as a form of abortion. A D&C can be performed with local or general anesthesia and can be an outpatient or inpatient procedure.
WHAT IS A D&C?
Dilatation is the dilating or opening of the cervix. This is done by inserting a series of metal rods of increasing diameter into the cervix until the opening is large enough to pass the curette (scraping tool) into the uterus. Another form of dilatation is to insert a laminaria plug (a seaweed rod) into the cervix. After six to 12 hours, the cervix will dilate sufficiently. The curette, which looks like a tiny spoon, is inserted into the uterus and it gently scrapes away at the uterine lining. The procedure takes about 20 minutes.
WHAT TO EXPECT BEFORE AND AFTER THE PROCEDURE
- Prior to the procedure you may be given instructions about restricting your diet or performing an enema. A blood count and urinalysis will probably be done and a local or general anesthesia will be administered before the procedure.
- After surgery, you will probably experience dull cramping for a few hours. Your normal activities can be resumed within a day or two. Strenuous exercise, sexual intercourse and the use of tampons should be avoided for at least five days.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF:
- you get a fever, this is a sign of infection.
- the pain and discomfort last more than two days or you’re experiencing extreme pain.
- you experience excessive or prolonged bleeding or the passage of blood clots.
A D&C MAY BE RECOMMENDED IF YOU:
- have abnormal menstrual bleeding
- bleed during menopause.
- experience frequent bleeding after intercourse.
- bleed in between periods.
- have uterine fibroids.
- have endometrial polyps.
- suspect uterine or cervical cancer.
- have a miscarriage or an incomplete abortion to prevent infection.