have a history of other adenocarcinomas or cancers, including those of the liver, breast, or bowel
receive unopposed oestrogen therapy
have had tamoxifen treatment for breast cancer
have had an ultrasound that showed a thickened lining of the uterus
How is the procedure performed? The woman lies on her back, with her knees up and her feet in stirrups, as she does for a regular pelvic examination or Pap smear. The doctor places a speculum within the vagina. This device helps enlarge the opening of the vagina. Then, the doctor uses a metal grasper, called a tenaculum. This device straightens the angle of the uterus. Then, the doctor passes a small, plastic or metal tube, called a cannula, into the uterus. The doctor uses a mild vacuum, or creates negative pressure, to remove endometrial cells. A pathologist looks at the cells with a microscope, and the doctor discusses the pathologist's findings with the patient. Alternatively, a small plastic tube (pipelle sampler) is used to remove tissue from the uterus.
What happens right after the procedure? Cramping usually passes within minutes of the procedure. If she sits up too quickly, a woman may feel light-headed. Lying down for a few minutes after the procedure prevents this. Any further cramping may be treated with an over-the-counter pain reliever.
What happens later at home? A woman may go back to normal activity afterwards. Cramping may be treated with an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as naproxen. For two to three days, she should avoid sexual intercourse, douches and tampons.
What are the potential complications after the procedure? Complications are rare but include:
infection in the uterus
bleeding from the cervix, the lower part of the uterus that extends into the vagina
creation of an abnormal hole from a cut, tear, or puncture of 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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