Overview of hysteroscopy
Hysteroscopy is a diagnostic procedure used by doctors to find the status of the inner cavity of the uterus. A thin telescope called a hysteroscope with a camera and a light is inserted into the uterus of a female patient, to examine her condition. It is a vital screening procedure used to check the reproductive capability of a woman.
Details of the hysteroscopy process
A slim tube fitted with a powerful light and a camera is passed through the vagina and cervix of the patient up to her uterus. This modern medical device is named a hysteroscope. All the video recordings done through this camera can be immediately seen on a monitor placed beside the patient’s bed.
Since this mini telescope can easily pass through the reproductive passage of a woman, doctors do not need to make an incision for conducting this procedure. Hence, only local anaesthesia may be applied to make the cervical region numb. So, the patients do not feel any pain or discomfort while undergoing this diagnostic process. However, some patients demand general anaesthesia so that they can remain unconscious during this procedure.
Risk factors associated with hysteroscopy
Though hysteroscopy is proven to be a safe procedure, there may be some risk factors involved for some patients. So, doctors and nurses take special care to avert these risks and keep their patients safe.
- Few negative effects of applying anaesthesia
- Infection of the uterus from the surface of the hysteroscope if not sterilized well
- Accidental damage to the tissues of the cervix wall by piercing with the hysteroscope tube
- Blockage of vision of the hysteroscope camera due to fluid in the uterus
- Possibilities of damage to the adjoining organs, like the urinary bladder, ovaries, or rectum
- Inflammation caused in the pelvic region, resulting in fever and pain
How to prepare for hysteroscopy?
If a doctor recommends a hysteroscopy, the patient should follow all the instructions before undergoing this process. The doctor will check her medical history and previous prescriptions and may ask her to stop taking medications that can prevent normal clotting of blood. He may also ask her to undergo some blood tests, a pelvic test, and a pregnancy test to make sure of her safety during the hysteroscopy.
The healthcare provider will guide the patient in choosing the type of clothes to wear during this diagnostic procedure, though mostly a loosely-fitted hospital gown is preferred. The patient is asked empty her urinary bladder before undergoing hysteroscopy. Since admission to the hospital is not needed in this case, the patient should have someone to drive her home after the hysteroscopy is over.
What to expect from a hysteroscopy?
The patient lies down on an operation table and her legs are attached in stirrups. Then the doctor provides general or local anaesthesia so that the patient does not feel any pain. A tool or medicine is applied to widen the vagina and cervix, to make way for the hysteroscope. A tool named a speculum is applied to keep the vagina open as long as the procedure continues.
Then the tubular hysteroscope is slowly inserted into the uterus. A saline-like fluid or gas is passed through the hysteroscope to enlarge the uterus and receive a clear view of the entire space. The doctor watches all photos of the uterus and fallopian tubes on his monitor and uses them for further reference.
Possible results of hysteroscopy
The patient sometimes may feel pain and even mild vaginal bleeding for a few days after undergoing a hysteroscopy. She needs to take medicines prescribed by the doctor and follow all the aftercare guidelines. Some patients faint due to the effect of anaesthesia after the procedure is over. Usually, the doctor keeps the patient under observation for a few hours even though the process of hysteroscopy does not even take an hour to be completed.
When to see a doctor?
If your periods become irregular, the doctor may recommend a hysteroscopy to detect the reason for this problem. If a woman faces menstrual cycles even after her menopause, then also the doctor will ask to undergo a hysteroscopy.
Thus, hysteroscopy is a simple and safe diagnostic procedure used by many gynaecologists. It helps them to find out the causes of menstrual problems faced by their patients. Patients fully recovered from all side effects within a maximum of two weeks after undergoing this process.
The main process of hysteroscopy takes only 5 – 10 minutes and the entire diagnostic operation may take a maximum of 30 minutes.
The photos taken during hysteroscopy are useful in detecting any abnormality in the uterus and fallopian tubes. Minor problems can also be treated by the use of a hysteroscope, without undergoing surgery.
Hysteroscopy is safe for all women and only 1% of patients report complications, like heavy bleeding or infection in the uterus.
Usually, patients leave the hospital after remaining in observation for a few hours. If they are given general anesthesia, they may need more time to ward off the effects and need to stay overnight in the hospital.
Your doctor will recommend a hysteroscopy to make sure that you are pregnant. This test is also necessary to ascertain whether the patient has a pelvic infection.