Definition A hysteroscope is a small metal tube connected to a light source and camera. It magnifies the cervical opening, uterine cavity, and the openings of the fallopian tubes during a procedure called hysteroscopy.
Hysteroscopy may be:
diagnostic, in which case it is only used to view the organs and observe any obvious abnormalities
therapeutic, in which case surgery is done through the scope
It can be:
used to find and sometimes treat suspected defects in the uterus
Who is a candidate for the procedure? Hysteroscopy may be recommended to evaluate a woman's infertility. Often it is done after a test called a hysterosalpingogram picks up possible defects in the uterus. It may also be done if the following conditions are suspected:
uterine polyps, or non-cancerous tumours
fibroids, which are growths in the uterus that are non-cancerous
a wall, or septum, dividing the uterus
an abnormally shaped uterus
foetal tissue remaining after a miscarriage or abortion
First, the cervix and vagina are cleansed. The cervix is opened so that the scope can be inserted into the uterus. The uterus is inflated with fluid or a harmless gas to make it easier to view. Any suspicious lesions may be biopsied or removed using small tools placed in the scope. This tissue is sent for microscopic analysis. Pictures may be taken with a special camera before and after any surgery is done.
What happens right after the procedure? Recovery usually takes less than 2 hours. Results will vary as will future treatment options.
a puncture of the uterus, which may injure the bowel or bladder
infection of the cervix, uterine lining, or fallopian tubes
vaginal bleeding from blood vessels in the uterus or a torn cervix
too much fluid, which can cause salt imbalance, fluid in the lungs known as pulmonary oedema, or kidney shutdown, known as acute renal failure. This is more common when the procedure takes a long time and large amounts of fluid are used in the uterus.
Author: Eva Martin, MD Reviewer: eknowhow Medical Review Panel Editor: Dr John Hearne Last Updated: 12/06/2005 Contributors Potential conflict of interest information for reviewers available on request
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