Dilation and Curettage (D&C)
What Is Dilation and Curettage (D&C)?
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The curettage procedure (D&C) involves dilating the uterine cervix so that the lining tissue (endometrium) of the uterus can be removed by scraping or suction.
The D&C is a safe procedure that is done for a variety of reasons. It is minor surgery performed in a hospital or ambulatory surgery center or clinic. D&C is usually a diagnostic procedure and seldom is therapeutic.
A D&C is often done as an adjunct procedure to a hysteroscopy and/or polypectomy. In addition, a D&C is often used for the following conditions:
1) Irregular or excessive bleeding: Irregular bleeding includes spotting or bleeding between periods. Bleeding with long, heavy periods, or bleeding after menopause, can signal a number of problems. A D&C allows removal of the uterine lining and examination of the tissue under a microscope by a pathologist. This can help establish the cause of the abnormal bleeding.
The causes of irregular or abnormal bleeding include:
2) Therapeutic D&C: A D&C is often planned as treatment when the source of the problem is already known. One situation is an incomplete miscarriage or even full-term delivery when, for some reason, the fetal or placental tissue inside of the uterus has not been completely expelled. If tissue is left behind, excess bleeding can result, perhaps even life-threatening bleeding.
Your health care professional will avoid D&C in the following situations, except when absolutely necessary:
In fact, D&C is no longer performed as commonly as it was even a decade ago, thanks to advances in diagnosis (for example, ultrasound and hysteroscopy) and nonsurgical hormonal (for example, oral contraceptives) and antihormonal therapies.
Last Reviewed 11/21/2017
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