Dilation and Curettage in Lynchburg, VA
Dilation and curettage, often abbreviated as D & C, is a common gynecological procedure used both for diagnosing and treating various uterine conditions.
What Is D & C Used For?
Patients who experience abnormal symptoms such as excessive menstrual bleeding or bleeding outside of their regular menstrual cycle are likely to undergo a D & C in order to investigate the cause of these irregularities. Because these symptoms are rather vague, they could signal the presence of any one of the following conditions:
- Uterine polyps
- Endometrial hyperplasia
- Abnormal cell growth
- Uterine cancer
As mentioned, D & C can also be used to treat several different uterine conditions. The procedure itself involves removing the woman’s endometrial tissue, which lines the inside of the uterus. Your physician may decide to only take a small sample of this tissue, or it may be best to clear away more endometrial tissue in order to treat the patient’s underlying condition.
D & C is often performed after childbirth in order to clear away any remaining tissue, including part of the placenta. This same result can be achieved after a miscarriage, and helps to prevent any potential infection that the leftover tissue could cause.
In some cases, it is also possible to use a D & C procedure to prevent a harmful pregnancy, such as a molar pregnancy. This rare condition occurs when there is a problem during the fertilization process that results in the development of a tumor instead of a fetus within the uterus. The cells of this tumor usually grow quite quickly, which can lead to a sizable uterine tumor if not addressed.
Preparing for a D & C Procedure
D & C is typically completed in-office, meaning that patients need only come in to the Women's Health Services of Central Virginia office in Lynchburg to have their procedure performed. Before coming in to our office, patients are given a small set of instructions from their doctor. This usually includes guidelines on what the patient is allowed to eat or drink before the procedure, and to arrange for a ride home after their treatment is complete. Anesthesia will be given to help the patient feel comfortable during the D & C, which can inhibit driving abilities afterward.
As the name would suggest, the dilation portion of the procedure involves dilating the woman’s cervix in order to give the physician access to the uterus. Dilation is typically achieved by gradually spreading the cervix apart using several rods that progressively increase in thickness to attain a wider opening to the uterus. Once the patient is fully dilated at approximately one half inch in diameter, the physician will insert a specially designed device into the uterus that then suctions off the targeted endometrial tissue.
Rest and Recovery After D & C
After the tissue has been removed, patients are relocated to their own private room at Women's Health Services of Central Virginia to recover after their procedure. This time also gives them a chance to recuperate from the effects of anesthesia or other sedative used during the D & C.
Patients generally return home within the same day as their treatment, and it is common to experience a mild amount of discomfort within the first few hours after their D & C procedure. This discomfort typically includes a bit of cramping in addition to light spotting.
Knowing Your Risk
Dilation and curettage is a very standard procedure, so patients should not worry too much prior to the performance of their procedure. It is important to note that, like any medical procedure, D & C is associated with a few unlikely complications, such as:
- Damage to the cervix
- Scarring of the uterine wall
- Perforation of the uterus
It is very important that you contact Women's Health Services of Central Virginia right away if you experience a fever, recurring cramps, worsening pain, heaving bleeding, or foul-smelling discharge after your D & C procedure.
For More Information
If you have any questions or would like to know more about the procedure, please call (434)239-7890.