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In Office Endometrial Ablation

Overview

In office endometrial ablation is a procedure used to eliminate the symptoms of menorrhagia. Women suffering from menorrhagia experience heavy bleeding and clotting during their menstrual periods. Endometrial ablation destroys the uterine lining, known as the endometrium, which stops the excessive bleeding. The process is minimally invasive, using tools inserted through the cervix. No incisions are required. The endometrium is destroyed either through heated fluids, extreme cold, microwave energy, or high-energy radiofrequencies.

Endometrial ablation is a less-invasive alternative to hysterectomy. More than 120,000 women have hysterectomies each year because of severe bleeding. Endometrial ablation is an option for women who want to avoid the complications and risks associated with an operation. The entire procedure typically takes about 30 minutes and can be completed right in our office.

How Do You Know If You Suffer From Heavy Bleeding?

Menstrual bleeding varies from woman to woman. In general, if your period lasts more than seven days or you use more than 10 tampons or pads per day during your period, your bleeding is heavy.

Women suffering from menorrhagia usually experience fatigue, iron deficiency, and clotting, as well as heavy bleeding.

What Are The Benefits Of In Office Endometrial Ablation?

The process is minimally invasive. Treating heavy bleeding with surgery can lead to complications and requires a hospital stay. Endometrial ablation is an in office procedure that usually takes less than an hour. The procedure sometimes requires only local anesthesia.

The process usually relieves the symptoms of menorrhagia and is often the only treatment a woman needs to ease her symptoms.

The process usually causes only minor side effects, including mild cramping and nausea.

Who Is Not A Candidate For Endometrial Ablation?

Though endometrial ablation is a safe, non-invasive solution for easing the symptoms of menorrhagia, it is not for everyone. The process is not an option if you:

  • Experience significant cramping during menstrual periods
  • Plan on future pregnancy
  • Have recently been pregnant
  • Have uterine cancer
  • Are post-menopausal

Fertility

For most women, pregnancy will not be an option following an in office endometrial ablation. Though pregnancy is possible following the procedure, miscarriage is common. The procedure damages the uterine lining, so women who wish to become pregnant in the future are not good candidates for endometrial ablation. In some cases, women who undergo endometrial ablation undergo a sterilization procedure to prevent future pregnancies and miscarriages. Women who do not undergo sterilization are encouraged to use contraception following the procedure.

If you suffer from heavy bleeding, speak with the doctors at Women’s Health Care of Georgia for more information about in office ablation and other alternatives to lessen your discomfort.

Preparation And Procedure

Patients who are candidates for endometrial ablation might be anxious or nervous about the procedure. This anxiety can be eased by knowing how to prepare and what to expect during the procedure.

Prior to endometrial ablation, a patient’s endometrium is tested for cancer. If cancer is present, we recommend foregoing endometrial ablation in favor of a hysterectomy. Patients who are cancer free then undergo a D&C to thin the endometrium. This process thins the uterine lining, which is believed to help the endometrial ablation more successful. Finally, decisions are made about anesthesia, which might include general anesthesia, conscious sedation, or local anesthesia for the uterus and cervix.

During the process, the cervix is dilated, so the tools used for endometrial ablation can be inserted in the uterus. The details for the procedure depend on the specific method your doctor determines is best for treating your condition. Options include:

Cryoblation: extreme cold is used to create balls of ice that freeze and destroy the endometrium in approximately 10 to 20 minutes.
Heated Balloon: a balloon is inserted through the cervix and then filled with hot fluid. This method takes approximately 30 minutes.
Microwave: a wand that emits microwaves is inserted into the uterus. The microwaves increase the temperature of the endometrium up to 185 degrees. The wand is shifted from side to side on its way out of the uterus, which takes up to four minutes.
Radiofrequency: an instrument is inserted into the uterus and is used to insert mesh that transmits radiofrequency. This vaporizes the endometrium, which takes approximately 90 seconds.

Following the procedure, you might experience minor, temporary side effects including:

  • Cramping
  • Frequent urination for up to 24 hours
  • Watery vaginal discharge that might be mixed with blood, which can occur for a few weeks following the procedure

Your doctor will have recommendations concerning tampon use and intercourse following the procedure. There are risks associated with endometrial ablation, but seriously complications are very rare. They include:

  • Perforation of the uterus
  • Damage to nearby organs
  • Infection




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