Hysteroscopy-endometrial ablation; Laser thermal ablation; Endometrial ablation-radiofrequency; Endometrial ablation-thermal balloon ablation; Rollerball ablation; Hydrothermal ablation; Novasure ablation
Endometrial ablation is a surgery or procedure done to damage the lining of the uterus in order to minimize heavy or prolonged menstrual flow. This lining is called the endometrium.
Most often, a tool called a hysteroscope is used. It is a thin, lighted tube. It sends images of the inside of the womb to a video monitor.
Small tools can be used through the scope to remove abnormal growths or tissue for examination. Ablation uses heat, cold, or electricity to destroy the lining of the womb.
The procedure takes about 45 minutes.
This procedure can treat heavy or irregular periods. Your doctor will likely have tried other treatments first, such as hormone medicines or an IUD.
Endometrial ablation will not be used if you may want to become pregnant in the future. Though this procedure does not prevent you from getting pregnant, it may reduce your chances of getting pregnant. Reliable contraception is important in all women who get the procedure.
If a woman gets pregnant after an ablation procedure, the pregnancy will often miscarry or be extremely high risk because of the scar tissue in the uterus.
Risks of hysteroscopy include:
Risks of any pelvic surgery include:
Risks of anesthesia include:
Risks of any surgery include:
A biopsy of the endometrium or lining of the uterus will be performed in the weeks prior to the procedure. Younger women may be treated with a hormone that blocks estrogen from being made by the body for 1 to 3 months before the procedure.
Your health care provider may prescribe medicine to open your cervix. This makes it easier to insert the scope. You need to take this medicine about 8 to 12 hours before your procedure.
Before any surgery:
In the 2 weeks before your procedure:
On the day of the procedure:
You may go home the same day. Rarely, you may need to stay overnight.
Your doctor will tell you the results of your procedure.
The lining of your uterus heals by scarring. Women will most often have less menstrual bleeding after this procedure. Up to 30 to 50% of women will completely stop having periods. This result is more likely in older women.
Lentz G. Endoscopy: Hysteroscopy and laparoscopy: Indications, contraindications and complications. In: Lentz GM, Lobo RA, Gershenson DM, Katz VL, eds. Comprehensive Gynecology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Mosby; 2012:chap 10.
Last reviewed on: 11/25/2014
Reviewed by: Cynthia D. White, MD, Fellow American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Group Health Cooperative, Bellevue, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.