Dilation and Curettage
What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings

What is Dilation and Curettage?

Dilation is a procedure to open and widen the cervix. The cervix is the entrance to the uterus.

Curettage is the removal of the lining of the uterus by scraping. The lining is known as the endometrium.

The two procedures are done together and are often referred to as a D&C.

Dilation and Curettage
Dilation and Curettage
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  • A D&C is usually done to determine what condition is causing abnormal bleeding. Some conditions that may cause abnormal bleeding are:
  • Miscarriage
  • Irregularities in menstrual bleeding
  • Endometrial polyps
  • Abnormal endometrial thickening
  • Endometrial cancer
  • Sometimes a D&C is done to stop the bleeding, rather than to diagnose why you are bleeding. This is sometimes done after a miscarriage or after a delivery when all of the placenta did not come out like it was supposed to.
  • A D&C is not advised if you have:
  • Infection of the uterus
  • Infection of the fallopian tubes

Possible Complications

Complications are rare, but no procedure is completely free of risk. If you are planning to have a D&C, your doctor will review a list of possible complications which may include:

  • Complications related to the anesthetic
  • Injury to the cervix
  • Scarring of endometrium
  • Infection of the uterus or fallopian tubes
  • Uterine perforation (hole in the uterus)
  • Bleeding
  • Damage to other organs in the abdomen
  • In case of significant injury or bleeding, possible need to open the abdomen and have the uterine wound stitched closed

Factors that may increase the risk of complications include:

  • Pre-existing infection
  • Pre-existing medical condition

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