Uterine Ablation Treatment

Uterine Ablation Treatment

Endometrial ablation greatly diminishes or virtually eliminates menstrual bleeding. Before considering endometrial ablation, it is important to discuss your future fertility plans with your healthcare provider prior. If endometrial ablation is a suitable option for you, it can be a helpful treatment and has a low risk of complications.

Endometrial ablation does not involve any incisions to the skin, so it is not considered a surgery. Many types of endometrial ablation can be performed in your provider’s office. Your uterus can be accessed by your provider through your vagina. Cervical dilation can be achieved with medication or the insertion of a series of rods that gradually increase in diameter in order to allow the passage of the instruments used.

If you have excessively heavy periods or bleeding that lasts longer than eight days, endometrial ablation may be a good solution for you. Endometrial ablation may also be recommended by your healthcare provider if you have bleeding between your periods. Your provider may also suggest it if your bleeding is so heavy that it causes you to be anemic. Before performing an endometrial ablation, your provider might recommend trying specific birth control medications or an intrauterine device (IUD) to solve the problem. However, if these options are not possible for you or are not effective in helping reduce the problem, endometrial ablation may be an alternative. Endometrial ablation is not recommended for postmenopausal women, women who are at high risk for cancer of the uterus, or women who have already had uterine cancer. Certain abnormalities of the uterus or active pelvic infection are also conditions for which endometrial ablation isn’t usually recommended.

Causes of excessive menstrual bleeding:

  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Fibroids
  • Polyps
  • Cancer of the endometrium or uterus

uterine fibroids illustration

Types of Endometrial Ablation

Your healthcare provider will remove or destroy the endometrium utilizing one of several methods:

  • Electricity: an electric current conducted through a wire loop or rollerball onto the uterus lining to destroy it. This requires general anesthesia.
  • Fluids (hydrothermal): uses heated saline fluid is pumped into the uterus for approximately ten minutes to destroy the lining. This method is often used for women who have an irregular-shaped uterus resulting from abnormal tissue growth like intracavity lesions or uterine fibroids.
  • Balloon therapy: utilizes a thin tube (catheter) with a balloon at the end inserted into the uterus. The balloon is filled with heated fluid, which destroys the uterine lining in two to ten minutes.
  • High-energy radio waves (radiofrequency ablation): electrical mesh is inserted into the uterus and expanded. The provider then sends an electrical current made by radio waves through the mesh to destroy the uterine lining in one to two minutes.
  • Cold (cryoablation): uses a probe to create ice balls to freeze the uterine lining. Ultrasound allows the doctor to monitor the creation of the ice balls. Each freeze cycle can require up to six minutes. The number of cycles required is related to the size and shape of your uterus.
  • Microwaves (microwave ablation): utilizes microwave energy set via a thin probe to destroy the lining in three to five minutes.

If needed, your provider can view the inside of your uterus using a tool called a hysteroscope during the procedure and use a camera on the hysteroscope to record it. A liquid or carbon dioxide gas to fill the uterus may be used to obtain a clearer view.

Risks involved with Endometrial Ablation

Complications of endometrial ablation are rare. However, possible complications can include:

  • Overloading of fluid into the bloodstream
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Heat or cold damage to nearby organs
  • A puncture injury of the uterine wall or bowel from surgical instruments

Be sure to inform Dr. White or your healthcare provider if you are allergic to or sensitive to medicines, iodine, or latex. You will also want to discuss any other risks you may have based on your individual healthcare conditions.

After Endometrial Ablation

For Dr. White’s outpatient procedures, you will need to arrange for someone else to drive you home. For the first 24 hours after the treatment, it is common to have to urinate more often than usual. You may want to wear a sanitary pad for the vaginal bleeding that typically occurs after the procedure.

You may experience menstrual-like cramps for a few days after the procedure. Over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help relieve cramping discomfort. You may also notice a watery vaginal discharge with blood. This discharge is usually heaviest for the first few days after the procedure and may continue for a few weeks.

Endometrial ablation generally reduces the amount of blood lost during menstruation, but it may take a few months in order to see a significant reduction. Most women will have lighter periods. Some women will stop having periods entirely.

Although some types of sterilization procedures can be performed at the same time as endometrial ablation, this procedure is not a sterilization procedure, it is very important to continue to use a reliable form of birth control. Although a pregnancy may still be possible, it is very likely to be problematic, such as an ectopic pregnancy, and end in a miscarriage because of the damage to the uterine lining.

 

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For questions call: 972-294-6992