Discusses procedure to destroy (ablate) the uterine lining, or endometrium. Explains that it is done to control heavy, prolonged vaginal bleeding. Looks at how well it works and risks.
Endometrial ablation is a procedure that destroys (ablates) the uterine lining, or endometrium. This procedure is used to treat dysfunctional or abnormal uterine bleeding. Sometimes a lighted viewing instrument (hysteroscope) is used to see inside the uterus. Endometrial ablation can be done
Laser beam (laser thermal
Heat (thermal ablation), using:
filled with saline solution that has been heated to
85°C (185°F) (thermal balloon
Normal saline (heated free fluid).
Electricity, using a resectoscope with a loop or rolling ball
The endometrium heals by scarring, which usually reduces or
prevents uterine bleeding.
Endometrial ablation may be done in an outpatient facility or your doctor's office. The procedure can take up to about 45 minutes. The procedure may be done using a
spinal anesthesia. And general anesthesia is sometimes used.
What To Expect After Surgery
After the procedure, you may have some side effects, such as cramping, nausea, and vaginal discharge that may be watery and mixed with blood. This discharge will become clear after a couple of days and can last for around 1 to 2 weeks.
takes a few days to 2 weeks to recover. You can usually go home the same day.
Why It Is Done
Endometrial ablation is used to
control heavy, prolonged vaginal bleeding when:
Most women will have reduced
menstrual flow following endometrial ablation. And up to half will stop having
Younger women are less likely
than older women to respond to endometrial ablation. After an endometrial
ablation, younger women are more likely to continue to have periods and need a
Young women may be treated with gonadotropin-releasing hormone analogues (GnRH-As) 1 to 3
months before the procedure. This will decrease their production of
estrogen and help thin the lining of the uterus (endometrium).
Problems that can happen during endometrial
Accidental puncture (perforation) of the
Burns (thermal injury) to the uterus or the surface of the
Buildup of fluid in the lungs (pulmonary edema).
Sudden blockage of arterial blood flow within the
lung (pulmonary embolism).
Tearing of the
opening of the uterus (cervical laceration).
These problems are uncommon but can be severe.
What To Think About
Regrowth of the endometrium may
occur after you have endometrial ablation. This procedure is not recommended if
you have a high risk for
Do not consider this
procedure if you plan to become pregnant in the future.
this surgery usually causes sterility by destroying the lining of the uterus,
pregnancy may still be possible if a small part of the endometrium is left in
place. This can lead to severe pregnancy problems.
Birth control of some form is needed if you have not
Fritz MA, Speroff L (2011). Abnormal uterine bleeding. In Clinical Gynecologic Endocrinology and Infertility, 8th ed., pp. 591–620. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.